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Why Megan Fox may not be a movie star yet. Why Megan Fox is definitely a TV star.

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The disappointing box office returns for Jennifer’s Body over the weekend was a contrast to the success with which its star, Megan Fox, commanded every TV show she chose to slink onto while promoting the movie last week. On Live With Regis and Kelly, she shimmied up on one of the hosts’ high stools in a tight dress and beige pumps and let Kelly Ripa talk about how she, Kelly, had spotted stardom in Fox way back when Megan played a ditzy teen on Ripa’s short-lived sitcom Hope and Faith.

On The Tonight Show — the one Conan O’Brien hosts, not the one Jay Leno does — Fox came out in a tight dress and black pumps to say that she loves to eat at chain restaurants like The Olive Garden and Red Lobster, reserving particular praise for the latter restaurant’s cheese biscuits:

“You’re the perfect woman!” joked Conan, meaning the perfect geek-fantasy woman: she’s hot-looking, and a cheap date!

Megan Fox sells sex and provocation with a knowing gleam. On TV and in magazines, it’s fun for an array of people — young and old straight men, girls who detect a dash of riot grrrl in her demeanor, gay men and women who recognize a present-and-future camp idol, if she lasts long enough to attract female impersonators — to relish her wanton kitty-in-stilettos image. She is, in short, great in interviews.

But actually paying a ticket to see her is another, ah, proposition. Fox attracted a big following in the Transformers movies because moviegoers were paying for the big shiny robot toys and also got a human Barbie doll as an extra added bonus. But it took TV and print interviews for the Barbie doll to establish that she was smart, funny, and self-aware. Well, aware enough to recognize that Diablo Cody had written her a terrific script in Jennifer’s Body. But (along with all the movie people who green-lit this project) not aware enough to foresee that asking citizens to utter the phrase, “I want to see Jennifer’s Body, please” was going to be sufficiently embarrassing to force a lot of them to opt with the more family-friendly sounding, “I want to see Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, please.”

For millions of people, I’m guessing, Megan Fox is the very definition of a guilty pleasure. And a guilty pleasure is something you enjoy in the privacy of your own home. You don’t go out, drive to a theater, and ask for a ticket to see Jennifer’s Body if you think the person behind the ticket window knows you’re asking for a ticket to see Megan Fox‘s body.

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