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|Cinema Signal: Not quite a green light but has elements of strong appeal for a limited audience.|
From the pen and the wicked mind of "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody comes this alert to teenage males that their attendance at the box office is their ticket to a babe in horror land. If you think that means rampant commercialism you got it right. This celebration of Megan Fox's body is an all out assault on the teen hormone package.
In the early going, she just likes the feeling of reducing the boys in her path to numb dorks jonesing to be her slave. The role of local goddess suits her narcissistic nature just fine, and doesn't she just love to lord it over her best friend, Needy, (Amanda Seyfried, "Mamma Mia") the modest one of the pal-pair since their days in the sandbox. Needy isn't a physical match for the hot persona of her friend, but in having loyal and trustworthy boyfriend Chip (Johnny Simmons, "Evan Almighty") she has an advantage over the preening beauty who views the world solely through her vapid self-interest.
The night they go to the roadhouse nightclub brings about a change in Jennifer that the self-worshiper deserves: she is transformed from a temptress to a demon. Thinking she's a virgin, a group of rock dudes perform a ritual over her that seems to have no other purpose than to move the story into another dimension. Because she's not the virgin she claimed she was when she was trying to impress the lead singer, she becomes a vampire with an unending thirst for blood. She's now more needy than Needy.
Now ,between blood meals, she grows grey, wan and less glamorous, but the babe is so naturally endowed, there's no way it brings her down to ugly. That ain't happening, man.
The unrated version of the DVD includes scenes that live up to the implications, with more sensual posing of that delicious body than in the sucker version that went to theatres. There's a scene in which we're treated to a closeup of the girlfriends enjoying a lingering kiss, with tongue. And, there's a pretty good scene of Chip and Needy consummating their feeling for each other between the sheets.
As for audiences that are less inflamed by such material, the story shows signs of a search for ideas that becomes padding with a mite more repetition than is desired.
The emotional anchor in all this--one that an objective adult can relate to, that is--is young Simmons, whose delivery of high school nerdliness comes with a rather endearing honesty, for the part and in his performance. It's not his fault that his sympathetic value is blown by the needs of an outlandishly contrived last act. J.K. Simmons (no relation) pops up here as the powerless voice of adult morality, Mr. Wroblewski.
It's probably no accident that the person chosen to direct this without fear of putting on screen a good deal of splashy sexuality would be someone who has proven creds for the subject. It went to Karyn Kusama who came on the scene as writer-director of "Girlfight" in 2000 and followed up with "AEon Flux" and an episode of "The L Word" on TV. Good choice, it turns out-- for the male demographic.
This is Cody's second feature to be produced. Its sense of hasty crafting suggests that she rode it in on the wave of "Juno's" success and a need for material to take advantage of the heat in the vampire genre produced by the popular "Twilight." Nothing like getting a lift from a rising tide. Some weakly constructed things, though, are better left asleep in their coffins.
~~ Jules Brenner