Notes from the back row 

Megan's Body is lukewarm

Megan Fox naked. There is probably no better marketing tool on earth right now and Jennifer's Body opens this Friday hoping to cash in on that. In truth, she isn't totally naked (and the whole movie could have used more nudity) but the other big draw to this flick is to see if Fox, who's been shit-talking her last two movies, can actually act.

The answer is yes, Fox brings a sultry, erotic sass to the role of Jennifer, a gorgeous-but-alone-in-the-world bombshell who is childhood friends with Needy (Amanda Seyfried), a mousy girl who despite her understanding boyfriend has a lesbian crush on Jennifer (can you blame her?)

Shit gets weird when a rock band willing to do anything for success attempts to sacrifice Jennifer to Satan in exchange for Rock and Roll stardom. Too bad they missed the part about 'the virgin,' which Jennifer is not. She comes back as a demon and starts eating the kids at her highschool. Cue the horrorific awesomeness and prom dresses.

While movies that end in prom are always awesome, screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) gets caught trying a bit too hard to be cool in some places and director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) should have studied the genre more. Though much better than Sorority Row or The Final Destination, Jennifer's Body feels unbalanced. It's an erotic-teen-angst-horror-comedy but the mix is not quite right and some horror fans will walk out a bit disappointed. Jennifer's Body has Megan Fox's body though, and her face, so it should be essentially critic proof.

Matt Damon's body, 30 pounds heavier than normal and sporting a sweet mustache, has a new flick opening Friday as well. The Informant, based on a true story and directed by Steven Soderbergh, tackles heavy issues like corporate greed, embezzlement and big business crime but does so in a comedy format. Damon's character is a corporate bigwig privy to under-the-table information about what kind of chemicals are going into our food and behind-closed-doors price fixing we never hear about.

Envisioning himself as a new kind of hero, the whistleblower, he turns FBI informant but forgets to tell them he's also ripping off the company and involved in some weird, bizarre and illegal stuff himself. What follows is a dark, comedic farce in which Damon, an actor comfortable in any role, truly shines.

The sun shines in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a wild and wacky film about an inventor who somehow manages to make it rain food. The flick is fun and funny and even without the emotional resonance of Up! or the other Pixar masterpieces it still entertains with spaghetti twisters and giant hotdog downpours, combined with voice work from Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris and Mr T. Toss in a message about how it's okay to be a bit of a geek sometimes and you have a decent kids movie. Available in kick-ass 3D if you see it in the city.

And finally Love Happens is also opening this week. It's a cheesedick rom-com starring boring-ass Jennifer Aniston and slipping-lately Aaron Eckhart (remember No Reservations, that puke-bag food/chef movie he did with Catherine Zeta-Jones? That blew.) Eckhart is a fantastic character actor and I guess he needed a new car or something because Love Happens is garbage all around.

Megan Fox is all around too, in my dreams, on the big screen, and hosting the season premiere of Saturday Night Live on September 26. She probably won't be naked, although one can always hope.

 

 

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