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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 tell?

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  • TrackBack said:

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    January 1, 2001 5:00 AM

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Peter Keough tosses away all pretenses of objectivity, good taste and sanity and writes what he damn well pleases under the guise of a film blog.

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