So the Megan “hot Transformers chick” Fox-starring, Diablo “I wrote Juno” Cody-written movie Jennifer’s Body opened this weekend to rather weak box office (the estimate at the moment is less than $7 million). As I write this article the film is scoring 41% positive rating on the Tomatometer over at RottenTomatoes.com with 99 reviews so far. While that is certainly not a good score, it’s far from that of some recent stinkers (Final Destination: 27%, All About Steve: 6%, Sorority Row: 26%).
What prompted this article however was what I was seeing on Twitter as far as comments about the film… women seemed to be praising it while guys (myself included) were slamming it. So I decided to do an informal (and very crude) statistical analysis – overall what did male movie critics think about the film as opposed to female reviewers?
There were many more reviews by men (77) than women (26). The majority of these were culled from the Rotten Tomatoes site, and I included a few (from both sides) from reviewers I know who are not part of the R/T scoring system.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Male movie reviewers: 39% liked it, 61% disliked it.
- Female movie reviewers: 54% liked it, 46% disliked it.
From the male side of the aisle, the negative comments about the film focus on the opinion that while Jennifer’s Body sets out to be both funny and scary, it succeeds at neither. However the film seems to speak more to female critics than to the man side of the aisle based on the focus upon girl/girl friendships, and particularly on showing just how cruel women can be to each other, never mind guys.
If you’re a guy, you’re probably thinking “huh?” right now, so here are a few statements from the women’s perspective expounding on just what the heck that means…
“This movie deserves a lot of love… Unfortunately, with Jennifer’s Body I’m seeing (and hearing) many males write off the parts of the film they don’t understand and, as a consequence, the entire film. What they should be doing instead, is trying to understand it as a seldom given look at the inner workings of women and their relationships with each other.”
Annalee Newitz of io9.com had this to say about the movie:
“‘Jennifer’s Body’ is a movie about toxic friendships between women. By placing this story in the context of a monster movie, it also does something interesting. First, it acknowledges that women are horribly dangerous… More importantly, it acknowledges that women are dangerous to other women. Not just in a mean girls way, but in an ‘I will rip your lungs out’ way… This is a movie about female wrath. And it’s not the clean, sympathetic wrath we saw in ‘Thelma and Louise‘; it’s not the trampy blankness we wanked over in ‘Species.’ It’s ugly, wrong, powerful wrath. The kind that builds empires and destroys towns. And men are irrelevant to this wrath, in the same way Jennifer’s life was irrelevant to the guys in Low Shoulder who murdered her.”
And “EruditeChick” over at AllThingsFanGirl.com explains:
“Case in point, the necklace moment. A trinket that holds no power other than what it represents to the girls, the act of its removal shocks Jennifer out of her attack, and undoes her. A BFF necklace. They probably got them at Claire’s. When they were ten. But in the world of the film, it is a mystical amulet, as powerful as the knife used in Jennifer’s murder or the words spoken over her before the act. Most of the men I’ve heard talk about the film mention that moment in particular as being cringe-worthy and corny, and most of all bizarre. I have not yet spoken to a girl for whom that scene did not resonate, didn’t hit something deep in them. Even if you never had one of those necklaces, you know what it means, the way you know what BFF can mean.“
Now of course there were men who liked the film and women who disliked it, but there’s a definite overall slant depending on the chromosome make up of the reviewer. In retrospect, what the ladies above are saying makes sense – but I still think this could have been done far better and that a film could have been made which addresses these issues while appealing to both women AND men.
What do YOU think?