Megan Fox wields her sexuality like a blunt object—a sledgehammer in lipgloss—in the new horror-comedy Jennifer’s Body. It’s the film’s one truly witty joke: that floating down these suburban high-school halls in a pink hoodie could be a smiling demon, a toothy weapon of boy destruction. (You can’t imagine the character working half as well with any of today’s other brittle young actors, and Fox seems to know it.) Jennifer’s unlikely best friend, nicknamed—let’s hope—Needy (Seyfried), remembers their slumber parties and one-on-ones before her buxom confidant was subtly transformed, after a fiery night at a roadhouse, into a bile-spewing monster with a huge appetite.
And still, the guys come running. So there’s jealously between the two—or, in the language of a script by Juno’s Diablo Cody, “lime-green jello.” Since winning her Oscar, Cody’s been pegged by the backlash as a one-note sarcasm machine, which is way too harsh given her earthy, authentic teenspeak (Jennifer, luring a victim, admits to a “wettie”) and her obvious gift for thematic construction. As with the classic Carrie, these violent rages could be sprung, metaphorically, from the furnace of female puberty, and you wish director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) had pushed Needy, her awkward blond heroine, into more of an attitude. (Seyfried’s a dud.) The movie has a centerfold sheen to it—and some lesbianic soft-core flirtation to match—as its plot dives deeply into Twilight-esque heavy-melo meltdown in the last act. Cody throws one too many losses at Needy; the screenwriter loses her satiric way about halfway through. But for a while, this has real fangs.—Joshua Rothkopf