In 2008, an ex-stripper won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. She probably wasn’t the first ex-stripper to win an Oscar… but it was a bit of a change for the sometimes conservative Academy to award one if its prestigious gongs to a woman who wasn’t afraid to be provocative and whose name means Devil in Spanish.
If you’re lost as to who I’m talking about, it’s Diablo Cody. And the film she wrote was Juno – a sassy, funny, warm account of teenage pregnancy. It really was the screenplay that made the movie – Diablo’s idea of how (American) teenagers talk and act was probably not at all accurate, but, hey, it was witty to think that some of them do indeed talk on burger-shaped phones.
Diablo’s follow-up to Juno (but actually written at the same time as the former) is a different style of film altogether. Jennifer’s Body is part-horror, part-comedy, part-sexual fantasy, part-wha?!Starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried as ironically stereotypical best friends (Megan is the sexy and vampish, Jennifer, whereas Amanda is the supposedly innocent and bespectacled, Needy), Jennifer’s Body tells the completely realistic story of the time when a local band, desperate for success, decide to make a pact with the Devil. In order to do this, they must sacrifice a virgin to Satan. Unfortunately for them, they pick on Jennifer…who is clearly not a virgin. And what happens when a non-virgin is sacrificed? According to Jennifer’s Body, they become possessed and must go around eating people in order to survive.
Thus begins a slew of deaths and some of the most annoying dialogue ever featured in a film. If Juno’s script was snappy and ironic, Jennifer’s Body’s just grates. Lines such as: ‘You give me such a wetty’ and ‘You are so lesbi-gay’ are, I’m sure you’ll agree, Pulitzer-prize winning material. Not that our annoyance stopped my friend, Maryam, and I from quoting the script for days after the screening. Because that’s the thing about the film: as much as it’s irritating, groan-inducing and ridiculous, I have to admit, it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure.
The other elements of the film? Well, let’s see, erm…okay, Megan Fox looks smokin’ hot throughout. But that’s about it. Let’s be honest here, the girl can’t really act (although the bitch character really becomes her for some reason?). Amanda Seyfried fairs a little better as the geeky heroine of the film. Adam Brody (late of The OC) is clearly loving every second as the quick-witted lead singer of the Satan-worshipping rock group. And the boy certainly suits black eyeliner.
Underneath all the glossiness though, it’s a bit depressing that this film was female-scripted, female-directed with two female leads… and it’s actually quite inherently misogynist. Female characters are either highly sexualised maneaters (literally) or boring ‘Plain Janes.’ Oh and the two share a very forced semi-lesbian scene. Of course. Maybe that’s just the climate we live in nowadays, but do we women really hate our own gender that much? I’m sure that’s not what Diablo Cody was intending, but unfortunately that’s the impression it gives. And this is where my guilty pleasure starts to turn sour.
But I know you’re intelligent readers, so you’ll probably just take this film with a pinch of salt…