Genre: Teen Horror
Synopsis: A high school cheerleader becomes a flesh-eating spawn of the devil.
About: This is the much talked about follow-up to Diablo Cody’s Oscar winning screenplay, Juno. Megan Fox to star. Coming out in September of this year.
Writer: Diablo Cody

Diablo’s Body

There’s a real temptation here to tear this to pieces. There’s a temptation to lol at the sound bytes of dialogue that are way too cute to be uttered by any human being, regardless of age. There’s a temptation to call Diablo Cody’s career a sham, based on her decision to to do what every other wanna-be celebrity does to get famous: take off their clothes. But one thing is very clear: Diablo Cody is making millions of dollars writing screenplays. I am not. Well, not yet anyway. The point is, she’s clearly doing something right. For that reason, I’m going to pretend that I never saw the first 30 minutes of Juno, that I never heard the phrases “You’re preggo with my eggo” or “Oh my blog”, and I’m going to do what nobody in this world has been able to do since Juno was released. I’m going to judge Diablo Cody’s screenplay objectively.

See here’s something I’ve got to give Diablo credit for. Cause when I first heard this was going to be her follow-up to Juno I thought, “You’re stupid.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how genius it was. Horror gets bad reviews no matter what. Doesn’t matter if Sucksy McSuckums writes it or Quentin Tarantino. Critics bash horror. So by writing a horror film, you effectively exonerate yourself from criticism. Cause when the bad reviews come in you can simply throw up your arms and say, “What I am supposed to do?? Critics hate horror.” And thus Diablo Cody doesn’t have the pressure of following up an Oscar effort. Although I don’t particularly like Diablo’s writing style, I admit she’s one smart chicky.

Enough of this shit. Let’s talk about Jennifer’s body. Now as some of you may know by now, Jennifer is being played by super-douche Donna’s boyfriend from the old 90210’s current ex-girlfriend Megan Fox. Jennifer is your typical perfect high school cheerleader princess. She’s got the body, she’s got the face, and she’s got the attitude. So it’s a little confusing why her best friend is Needy, the artsy girl who works at the school paper (no not “needy”, but her actual name is Needy, for real). A little bit of a stretch there but since it’s early on in the script, you go with it.

Jennifer’s clearly in control of the relationship. It’s Thora Birch – Mena Suarvi Bff-ship in American Beauty territory. So when Jennifer informs a busy Needy that she has to come with her to see this new totally blog-like Emo band, Needy reluctantly agrees. Well not even 2 minutes into their first set, the club catches fire and nearly everybody dies. Except for Needy, Jennifer and the band (clearly inspired by the Great White fire that killed all those people in the Rhode Island club a few years back).

The emo band invites Jennifer along for an after-party to which, despite dozens of people just dying, she accepts. And after that night, Jennifer is never the same. Mainly because she’s possessed by the devil and needs to feed on able-bodied male teenagers to get through the day.

This is going to surprise some of you but I didn’t think Jennifer’s Body was that bad. It was silly but Diablo isn’t aiming for greatness here. I would say that there were a few times that the Jennifer character seemed to enjoy the act of dismembering boys a little too much – to the point where I’d be a teensy bit scared to meet Cody in an alley – but it was still funny.

There are Diablo-isms that will definitely test the patience of non-fans. For example, instead of a character saying “You’re jealous” they’ll say “You’re jello.” And if you say you’re not jello they’ll counter with, “Yes you are! You’re key lime green jello!” Personally I plan on never using the word jello again because of this and I would recommend to the people at Webster’s Dictionary that they remove the word “jello” so that Diablo can never use it again either. But what are you gonna do? It started with a chair.

Another curiosity I found was that whenever Jennifer killed someone, Needy became Obi-Wan Kenobi. She would have to sit down and take a moment to process a “terrible feeling.” I mean I know these two are besties but does that mean they also have The Force?

Hey look, I admit it, I thought the first 30 minutes of Juno were shit. But I look forward to Cody’s EW column every week. And as many of you have pointed out, exposure for any writer is a good thing. I sorta kinda didn’t mind Jennifer’s Body. It was somewhat not-unlikeable.

[ ] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest
[x] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned from Jennifer’s Body: So towards the end of the movie, the story becomes about Jennifer seducing Needy’s boyfriend, Chip, who she obviously wants to kill. Needy starts to sense this, of course, and must delicately persuade Chip to avoid Jennifer, all the while not being able to tell him that she’s a flesh eating satan-beast. It works but not nearly as well as it could have. Why? Because Needy didn’t love Chip. She *says* she does late in the script. But everything Cody’s shown us up to that point suggests that Chip is a big teenage sex-hungry oaf and played him for laughs. But those laughs came at the expense of us really caring about the final outcome. If we knew that Chip and Needy were desperately in love Romeo and Juliet style, do you know how powerful that final act could’ve been? How terrified we would be of Jennifer stealing away and killing Needy’s soul mate? That would’ve made for great drama. As of now, it still works, but just barely. We don’t really care if Chip is killed. Are a few laughs during the screenplay worth that? That’s up to you to decide.

  • Anonymous

    She’s got a big ass.

  • Anonymous

    Some definite junk in the trunk. Less so here than now though.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04188048298024832357 Sally

    You saying “I didn’t think Jennifer’s Body was that bad” is a rave review for Cody. Will be interesting to see if “Juno” fans follow her to this project.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t stand her. Hated the script for Juno. Don’t care for her EW column. And gave up reading Jennifer’s Body about 20 pages in. Her dialogue sucks, and if I don’t like the dialogue I won’t like the script.

    I can’t tell who she’s trying to rip off more. Quentin Tarantino or Joss Whedon. I don’t mind a rip off artist, Tarantino comes to mind, but you need talent to back it up.

  • Carson

    I love it! I love the anger she inspires! Where is Ryan? Ryan, you must have something to say about JB. Was that you above as anonymous?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02163221455899041141 Emily Blake

    First of all, EVERY woman’s ass looks huge at that angle.

    I admit, I hate her. I completely hate her and want to see her fail, but it’s only because I’m totally jello.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    You’re so totally strawberry jello.

  • Wenonah

    I’m bummed that I’ll have to take Jell-O out of my latest script. Being from MN it must be some sort of requirement, it makes an appearance on more than one occasion. Dammit! I started reading JB but got bored. All I can picture is Ellen Page in a red hoodie possessed by the devil. *yawn*

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    One other thing I forgot to mention in the review is that it’s very clear Diablo Cody has strong lesbian tendencies. For all the ladies out there…if you’re interested.

  • karaff

    Look, she’s already got you guys saying jello. Now you’ll have to kill yourselves.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08155090772668744550 Garrett

    Good review, Carson. As always.

    Personally, I could barely get through JB. But maybe that’s cause I had just read Juno? And my Diablo neg-bias was through the roof?

    I dunno… Maybe I should give it another read…

  • Anonymous

    United States of Tara is awesome. Check it out. I’m surprised you didn’t mention it in your review.

    It bothers me, Carson, that you assume she calculated this next step. From my understanding, Jennifer’s Body was around before or just after Juno hit and definitely pre-oscar. It wasn’t green-lit, but it was kicking around.

    Also, there’s something wrong with people who judge her for being a stripper. You get pissed at her, but it was Fox Searchlight that used it as a marketing tool. Did she use it first, to write a book? Yes. But Fox S put it in everyone’s mouth.

    For example:

    Jason Reitman: “My directing is great, but I couldn’t have done it without an ex-stripper’s great and awesome screenplay.”

    Ellen Page: “My acting is great, but if an ex-stripper didn’t shove dialogues into my mouth, well, I wouldn’t sound like an ex-stripper.”

    Those were direct quotes btw.

    The underlying tone of your review and perhaps of all your reviews, but especially here, is of condescension (it doesn’t count when you say, “I know you expect me to judge her for being a stripper, but I’m not gonna do it.”). Have some respect and be a bit of a journalist, learn some interesting shit about these writers before you go bashing them about the head for being, you know, strippers and such.

    You know why people don’t read Hemingway anymore, it’s because they confuse the man with the writing. Was he an asshole? Yes. Was he a brilliant writer? Yes. He was so brilliant that his assholiness seldomly made an appearance in his writing. Just like Cody’s strip-hol-i-ness hasn’t once been a factor in her actual writing (save for the memoir… I realize I may have lost my point here, but…).

    I do enjoy your reviews, however, I just think you can find it in yourself to do/be better. It seems like you tried here, but you didn’t and if you look into your soul you know you didn’t. Yes, I’m condescending, but only as an example of what you should not do in the future.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Anon, I accept your criticism with humility. I try not to be condescending, but I’ve seen a lot of movies and read a lot of scripts. As a result I have very high standards. I think it comes through subconsciously whether I try to be positive or not – I don’t disagree with you there. I’ll try to be more aware of it. No promises though.

    As for Cody, her past is a part of who she is, whether she promotes it or not. She’s certainly got a lot of mileage out of her exploits so I think they’re fair game in any review.

    Haven’t seen U of Tara so I can’t comment on it. Thank you for your honesty. :)

  • Anonymous

    I doubt there are any photos floating around online of William Goldman dressed up in cleavage baring tops, or fishnet stockings.

    She makes her past fair game by getting the most mileage out of it possible.

  • Anonymous

    In regards to the fact she was a stripper being promoted just by Fox Searchlight, didn’t she also hire her own publicists in ADDITION to Fox’s? She plays it up as much as she can and the best part is if anyone thinks its trashy and lame — they’re sexist pigs. Even if they’re women.

  • Anonymous

    There aren’t any photos of me floating around the web, no, but if there were would it make the reading of my script anymore or less pleasurable? This is a script review site, right? Not a person review site, right? As readers (and future screenwriters – most of you want to be screenwriters, right?) we have to look at the work and not the person. When we mix the two, we lose objectivity and stumble toward celebrity worship or celebrity hate. This doesn’t mean you can’t hate the work, it just mean you can’t cite you hate the work because Diablo Cody is whatever she is and then some.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    It’s becoming harder and harder to do that though. I mean, is it possible to read a Quentin Tarantino script without thinking of Quentin Tarantino? That’s the risk you run when you start branding yourself. Bigger money, but there’s more of *you* at risk.

  • Anonymous

    It was a great little horror script.
    That’s the bottom line.

  • Anonymous

    I have the script . Get me your e-mail.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05968301889449998198 Jackson

    God damn there are alot of anonymous “haters” out there. It’s good that Diablo has so many haters, because that is how you know you’re doing something right. You can’t name one successful person with out a ton of haters. Bravo Diablo!

  • Anonymous

    Why does every go out of their way to point out how horrible the first 30 minutes of Juno was and doesn’t comment about how the remainder of the film is excellent?

    Everyone above spouting hate, show me one scene you’ve written that’s better than when Juno breaks the news to her parents that she’s pregnant.

    And go watch United States of Tara. It shows her development as a writer. She still uses that same style of dialogue, but it’s much more specifically character based.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13521876200142882097 Olive

    Carson, I’m completely with Anon in her/his criticisms: I’m sure there was a genuine review buried in there somewhere, but it wasn’t easy to find. Also, the dialogue snippets you selected to show how bad Juno was are inaccurate according to both the draft I have sitting next to me (dated Feb 2007) and the movie itself. It’s funny that you fact-checked what Ellen Page and Jason Reitman said in an interview, but not the dialogue. I think that speaks to your priorities in the review.

    I agree with you: you absolutely CAN do anything you want to, including making this review about her stripping and about the size of her ass (nice, Anon, can’t imagine why you didn’t want to put your name on that). It’s your blog, after all. In fact, I don’t think a genuine discussion of how writers manage their public images would be at all out of place. However, to use half of a script review to take pot shots at the screenwriter outside the context of that script isn’t smart or insightful, and frankly, it’s disappointing in the context of your usually thoughtful analysis.

    I apologize for my first post being negative in nature – I’ve really enjoyed reading your reviews since I discovered the site a few weeks ago – but I feel strongly about this and thought I should say so.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13521876200142882097 Olive

    Oops, that wasn’t you that referenced the interviews. Sorry about that. Speaking of fact-checking….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13593976245341180685 Cash Bailey

    Cody’s got a nice juicy dumper on her, that’s for sure.

    But can Megan Fox carry this movie? She’s mighty fine and all, but there’s not much going on behind the eyes there.

  • Anonymous

    JJ says:

    Hey, wasn’t one of the co-stars of Juno named Olive? Olive Thilby, right?

    Hmmmmm….

  • http://www.myspace.com/igaveitallmyoxygen Honey

    I think, as the script goes…It was a little too bland? But the thing is, the script was more along the lines of brainstorming and coming up with ideas for the movie itself. Diablo’s dialog isn’t terrible, but it’s not…exciting? I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I’m just a seventeen year old girl with a sick feeling in my gut from the film. I briefly flew through the script, and the idea of it was genius. As far as it following through. Use constructive criticism. Don’t bash on it automatically. I believe the idea of it was supposed to follow through to a larger picture–in a sense. But it was in a rush. It seemed rushed. I’d give the script 3 stars out of 5. But the film was brilliant. Soundtrack brilliant. And you can thank Diablo for it. Thank you, Diablo.

    Oh, and goes for Megan Fox? I think she’s an amazing person in general. A middle-class actress, but it’s time to start going for older roles, Megan. Time to trade in that cheerleading uniform for a No.6 Chanel dress with some Jimmy Choo heels. You’re getting too old.

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