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Web Stalker – Can a Mostly Clothed Megan Fox Carry Jennifer’s Body?

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Consider, if you will, the career of spotlight-loving young seductress Megan Fox. Despite having landed only one prominent role (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People) since she splashed onto the scene in 2007’s Transformers, the bright-eyed starlet has managed to dominate headlines with a calculated mixture of alluring, lad-mag covers and brash comments about her libido. While the second Transformers flick smashed its way through the box office last week, Fox-o-philes got a double dose of the saucy starlet as buzz about her next movie began to heat up.

The big news? Well, for starters, Jennifer’s Body, a dark horror-comedy penned by Juno‘s Diablo Cody, received an official “R” rating from the MPAA. Stop the presses! Or not. As a Mark’s Horror & Suspense Blog headline sums it up, “Good News: Jennifer’s Body Rated R; Bad News: Not for Nudity.”

So, despite reports that Fox would appear in the buff — bolstered by a slew of early stills that show her (barely) clad in pasties and hot pants — it ain’t gonna happen. Sorry pervs! That said, you have to wonder: Is a fully clothed Fox box-office bait?

Perhaps. “This is good news for horror fans that feared the film, written by Diablo Cody, would suffer the fate of a PG-13 rating,” writes the DC Horror Examiner. “Fortunately for horror fans, 20th Century Fox and director Karyn Kusama chose not to ‘cop out’ and the film has an official R rating.”

Indeed, horror fans seem united in their delight that Jennifer’s Body won’t shortchange them in the shock department. “Jennifer’s Body could have gone either way,” enthuses ShockTilYouDrop.com. “Embrace the teen angle and aim for a younger audience with a PG-13 rating or go balls-out with its story about a hot cheerleader (in this case, Megan Fox) that gets possessed and devours boys whole. Thankfully, director Karyn Kusama went the latter route and scored an R rating with the MPAA for ‘sexuality, bloody violence, language and brief drug use.’ Rejoice.”

So, R rating — good. Got it. But will it be enough to get fans a-flocking when the movie opens in September? The verdict’s still out on that front. “Its Carrie-esque concept will surely raise scares. However I’m not sure what my view of the actual film will be,” muses the opinionated FilmSchoolRejects.com. “I rather liked Juno but this is on the other side of the spectrum… I simply can’t decide what I think.”

He’s not alone: There’s no consensus: For every “this B-movie will go straight to video” prediction, there’s a conflicting one along the lines of “Zombie Megan Fox Cheerleader = Drown me in beer & weed & press PLAY,” though that last bit does bolster the idea that it may not be theatrical material. And even those who think Jennifer’s Body is going to be horrible, like the sarcastic minds over at HorrorYearbook.com,

may check it out anyway: “While I’m sure some people are only going to see Jennifer’s Body because of Megan Fox, I’m only going to see it to watch her struggle to deliver bad, ‘witty’ Diablo Cody dialogue. This movie is definitely the car wreck NOT to miss this year.”

But a major puzzle piece was missing, a piece with the potential to tip the balance: The trailer. In a thread titled “Um, where the beep is the trailer!?” over on the movie’s IMDB messageboard, anxious fans started venting their concern back in mid-June, then checked back in when Fox failed to show the trailer before Transformers 2.

On June 26, producer Jason Reitman checked in via Twitter: “Just reviewing some Jenn’s Body trailers,” he tweeted. “Then off to the UITA [Up in the Air] screening. Fingers crossed.”One blogger speculatedthat “They might put the trailer before I Love You, Beth Cooper because it’s also a Fox Atomic film and will attract a generally similar audience.”

And then, as worker bees straggled back into work after the July 4th weekend, the official trailer, featuring proto-riot grrrl anthems like The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” and The Waitresses’ dripping-with-ironic-cool “I Know What Boys Like,” suddenly turned up online, along with word that it would make its theatrical debut attached to Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno. The web lit up like an old-fashioned switchboard, fueled by Kusama, Cody and Reitman’s incendiary announcement that the theatrical trailer wasn’t their cut and misrepresented the movie. Their beef: That the studio trailer made Jennifer’s Body look like a straightforward horror flick, rather than a snarky, self-referential comedy-horror picture.

Stay tuned for further developments!

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