It's not what Juno...
I was lead to believe that the growingsuccess of “Juno” might
be curtailed by its failure to take any awards from the first handful of
critics groups meetings, including Boston, Los Angeles and New
York. Fat chance. The tide turned when groups such as
the Broadcast Film Critics Association gave
it three nominations and the Hollywood Foreign Press (you know -- The Golden
Globes) did likewise and in the same categories: Best Film (in the latter
case, Comedy or Musical), Best Screenplay and Best Actress. So chances are it’s
going to fulfill its goal of being this year’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” the
bogus Indie that could.
Yes, the studios have learned to package that once proud rubric
“Indie” into their own winning formula (didn’t I already unload a long-winded
rant on this subject?). Maybe I’m a little harsh on a movie that is an
occasionally amusing, overwritten bit of disingenuous, manufactured sophmoric
twaddle. But I find myself for once agreeing wirth red-blooded “New York Post" critic Kyle Smith on calling the
Emperor’s New Clothes on this one. Film critics, that ever cool contingent of
mostly 40 plus socially inept fashion challenged Caucasian males (to which I
proudly belong) have bought into a carefully honed and marketed phony
hipsterism. Gee, so this is what it means to be young and on the cutting edge!
Well, not really. As Smith notes:
“…the hipster jive that dances across every page of this
script (that word is more applicable than story)–about a supercool teen
(Ellen Page) who discovers she’s pregnant and decides to have the baby but
give it up for adoption–stumbles a lot too. Would a 16-year-old girl really
drop references to ‘The Goonies’ and ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’? I
don’t know many 16-year-olds but I’m willing to bet Soupy Sales is not one
of their cultural reference points. Screenwriter Diablo Cody is billed as 28
but her references–‘boss,’ ‘rad’–sound suspiciously 38-ish; her Juno is also
curiously bereft of hip-hop and Web-based slang.
“That would matter less if the talk weren’t
the movie; the thin characters around Juno essentially exist
to either cluelessly absorb her barbs or fire back one-liners
that sound exactly like hers.”
Or rather, like the above mentioned screenwriter Cody Diablo, the
former Brook Busey-Hunt, whose dialogue is as overheated and false as the
stage name she took when she flirted with being a stripteaser. And
what a promotional goldmine that move turned out to be! What movie geek isn’t
having fantasies about her pole dancing?
And how many reviews and interviews have focused on that single item in her
resumé? Here’s a little experiment: type “Diablo Cody stripper” and “Diablo
Cody writer” into Google and see which gets the most entries (I got 59,000 for
“stripper;” 47,000 for “writer”).
No wonder Lou Lumenick, also of the “New York Post,” lamented when the
screenwriter of the moment failed to capture the New York Film Critics Circle
Award. “I do regret,” he writes in his blog,
“that erstwhile stripper Diablo Cody will not be joining us for the
awards on January 6. She sure had my vote.”
Well, Lou, maybe the actual winners Joel and Ethan Coen will accommodate you.
But wait, doesn’t “Juno” present a feminist alternative to the
traditionalist values about abortion implied in “Knocked Up?” Isn’t that hip? Maybe
people are confusing it with the Romanian film “Four Months, Three Weeks, and
Two Days,” or the comparatively edgy 1959
family melodrama “Blue Denim.”
Not so Cody. In an interview with "Variety," she says, "But wouldn't it be wonderful if
the pro-life crowd embraces this movie? It could be the new 'Passion of the
Christ,' and I'd really love to make that kind of money. ... Let's get all the
church groups and bus 'em in. Ten bucks a head."
Maybe she was being ironic. But with these hipsters, how can you