Critics Split By Gender On Jennifer’s Body

Published 4 years ago by

jennifers body toxic friendship Critics Split By Gender On Jennifers Body

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.

jennifers body review Critics Split By Gender On Jennifers Body

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…

Genevieve Blaber (writer for LatinoReview.com and her own blog IWentThere) says:

“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?

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40 Comments

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  1. Wait.. i dont understand. What where these women doing out of the kitchen?

  2. Look like it time you hired a woman in your staff.

  3. @Bangarang

    It’s not like I haven’t tried…

    Vic

  4. @ Vic

    It’s the marketing of the film that leads to the gender division. When you look at the trailers, especially the red band trailer, it looks to be a raunchy horror film that screams sex. So it isn’t the execution of the film or the writing it was the marketing. So when a male walks into the theater he is expecting the sex and horror then he gets the an inside look at how females treat each other. The woman walking in the theater is expecting everything the male is with a different perspective, but walks out having had to face a mirror of her gender and is pleasantly surprised.

    Expectation is the key to how a movie is received look at Snakes on a Plane or Avatar(yet to be released). Snakes on a Plane had the strong internet buzz but people loved the idea more than the movie. With Avatar we know new tech was created to make the film so anticipation is high to see this new tech at work.

    Jennifer’s Body trailers promised one thing and another was delivered in the theater.

  5. I haven’t seen Jennifer’s Body, but I agree with Hammie. It was probably the marketing. I know when I saw the trailers I thought it looked sexy, a little scary, and a little funny too. Also I heard that Megan Fox doesn’t appear naked and the “lesbian kiss” is just a closeup. I’m not gonna pay 10 bucks to see 2 random peoples’ lips lock. They showed us that in the trailer anyway… well… almost. Just like those posters that made District 9 look like a major summer blockbuster action flick, Jennifer’s Body had misleading marketing.

  6. If Women really responded to it,
    it would have done better at the box office.

  7. 7mil,,, and were still discussing this pile?

    Curious nobody’s talking about the amazing film,”Love Happens” starring the talented Anniston and Eckhart? Lol,,,
    How much did that make, ???

  8. If that’s the case, than the filmmakers did a great job at conveying what it’s like to be female BFFs and what can happen when the friendship sours. I am actually a little more interested in seeing the film now; I wonder if the studio should’ve focused even MORE marketing to women. Hello, DVD!

    heath

  9. @Hammie

    We’ve brought up the issue before here on the site that misleading marketing can hurt a movie.

    @Gary

    See above.

    Vic

  10. So its really a girl power movie in disguise? Huh… I never would have guessed that. lol. I still won’t waste 9 hard earned dollars on it. Even if it does have Kyle Galligner for 2.3 seconds…

  11. *sigh* there goes women still trying to prove that they are deeper than men. Perhaps they should realize that they can’t see poor acting and script writing even if it fell on their lap…

    And about the poor marketting, while that’s true, I don’t think that’s the result of the negative reviews. That would suggest that the movie might actually be good, but reviews were negative because reviewers didn’t get what they expect. But I believe all of the reviews that say that the acting was pretty poor from the main character because… well, because it is Megan Fox… And I personally never really was a fan of the whole witty banter type stuff that made Juno so popular, so I would have disliked that aspect as well if they attempted it…

    I believe despite the misleading marketting, the reviews from the men are more objective. It just sounds like the women WANT to like it because the writer put little tidbits of stuff they THINK only they can understand. Empowers them and they want to believe that the movie that accomplished that was a good movie and not a mediocre movie.

    That’s like me saying I thought Gamer is a good movie because they talk about ping and put “tea bagging” in it that only gamers of first person shooters would fully understand… (yes I know there is such thing as tea bagging to everyone else, but there’s a very specific gamer reference in that context) And that non-gamers just wrote off the parts of gaming they didn’t understand, 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 gamers and their relationships with each other.

    Sounds good right? LOL. Looking at it from a psychological standpoint, having that stance is basically her saying that men simply don’t understand, but women do, and men need to “learn” to be as understanding as women are… woman power!! Give me a break, the movie sucks, deal with it…

  12. Welcome to female angst world of Diablo Cody.

  13. “…the trampy blankness we wanked over in ‘Species.’”??? I must have erased that particular traumatic experience then. Typical bloke.

  14. Well said. I agree with the female critics quoted above. I liked Jennifer’s Body, here’s a link to my thoughts on the film…

    http://www.reelartsy.com/2009/09/jennifers-body-review.html

  15. Interesting article , though I agree with Vic’s view that while themes were there and attempted ,they weren’t executed well.

    Aside from the message Kody tries to get across about women’s friendships , the film had an even subtext that they were more then “just BFF’s” and that frankly there was more to their friendship then what we were shown.

  16. Wow Karen, you agree with the female critics? What a surprise! Way to break the mold! lol :-D

    Shameless plug of her review too, gotta love that. Girl power! :-P

  17. @Ken J

    Come on, don’t be pouncing on Karen. As to your comment, while I didn’t think Jennifer’s Body was very good I can totally see the point of view of the women I quoted above. There are things that we as men just don’t “get” (and frankly, don’t particularly want to). That’s evidenced by the comment regarding the necklace, to which I did indeed have the “male” reaction described above.

    As to putting the shoe on the other foot – I would say a lot of women don’t “get” the competitive thing that guys have going on. You see competitions for the stupidest stuff with guys all the time – my wife just doesn’t get it when on TV guys are trying to top each other doing some idiotic stunt, but I totally get it.

    Same thing, reversed.

    Vic

  18. I’m sorry, but it’s hard to take that paragraph seriously when she kept saying “BFF,” I just think of Paris Hilton when I see “BFF.”

    Anyway, my point isn’t that the movie didn’t have things that girls can relate to, my point is that those things don’t make the film a good film. It’s just a bad film with things women can relate to. That’s why I used Gamer as an example. It has plenty of gamer lingo that gamers can relate to, but that doesn’t make it a good film.

    The reviews I’ve read from men who panned it seemed to focus more on relevant aspects of the film, such as the acting, dialog, script, etc. While the females who liked it seemed to only focus on the fact that it had things that women can relate to. But like I’ve said, they probably wouldn’t like the fact that a movie that seems to speak to them as women was actually a bad film, so they convince themselves that it is a good film that accomplishes this.

    Again, using Gamer as an example, yes I’m a little embarrassed that such a mediocre movie spoke to me as a gamer, lol. I would have loved for it to have been a better movie that accomplished this. But while it entertained me, I know the only reason it did was because of these “gamer moments.” I can see how for everyone else it was just some lame excuse to have gratuitous violence and nudity, lol.

  19. Oh, the paragraph I speak of is the one talking about the “BFF necklace.”

    The whole concept of a BFF is such a naive concept anyhow. Especially at the age these girls tend to pick their BFF… Chances are they won’t be your so-called “BFF” 10 years down the road… Not quite “forever”…

  20. Ken J

    You are truly the patron saint of lost causes, man.

    LOL.

  21. I’ve no interest in seeing this… but then i grew up watching Predator, Aliens and Rambo so not really surprising I have ZERO interest in some girlie horror flick starring an over-exposed foul mouthed child.

  22. @Kofi

    LOL, if you say so dude. haha

    My point was never that the women were wrong that there are things in the movie that speak to women more so than men, my point is simply that it’s still a bad movie regardless of that fact. :-)

  23. next up – show girls 2 starring diablo cody!

  24. OrangeRush2112, man I could use a new RUSH album about yesterday.

    I can see lucifer cody directing the next Halloween re-sequel-boot-make.

  25. @ orangerush2112

    i would sooo watch a showgirls 2 starring diablo cody… And it won’t be for ” hip” references but for other “hips”.

  26. @Ken J

    Point taken – I agree, even if I don’t “get” the girl stuff I still think it could have been done better.

    Vic

  27. As a projectionist my view is slanted, as I haven’t had a chance to see the whole thing yet :0
    I described the movie to my boyfriend as a cross between “Carrie” and “Prom Night” … not very descriptive, but every time I looked somebody was sleeping w/ someone, getting ready for the dance, not taking advice of those who loved him, etc. (ie: too much “Puberty Love” to keep my stomach settled.)
    My pet peeve on this flick, though, is that people don’t stay for the end!
    As the person who turns the house lights on manually at the end of each showing, it finally occured to me that the best part of the movie happens after they start rolling the credits!!!
    Most of the audience starts walking out WAY before that….
    [Why do people pay $7 to see a story and leave before it's over???]
    I’m gonna leave the lights OFF until the black & white security camera shot at the end, and the story is over!!!!!
    Otherwise you’ve missed the whole point……. (and the best part of the movie:-)
    Oh– chick reviewer (me)… not a bad story, can’t wait to catch the whole thing soon…

  28. I personally hate megan fox just cos ure a preety face dosnt mean ure good at acting I hope her career is over soon

  29. i kinda makes me want to see it now, and make my own opnion. I’ll wait until it I get a coupon for it or it comes to a budget theatre.

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