28 February, 2008

I'm calling to procure a hasty abortion...

As films go, Juno is an odd beast. For me at least. Because I approve of Jason Reitman, having laughed uproariously at Thank-You for Smoking. Meanwhile, J.K Simmons was almost the best thing in that film. Ellen Page is clearly a talent, and add the homeliness of having Arrested Development stars kicking around, there's not much to dislike, surely?

And I enjoyed parts of it, sure enough. I laughed a few times, if only inwardly. It's a well-made film, and very much in the vein of the Alexander Payne/Wes Anderson school, unconventional, but not unwelcoming. Cosy comedy that can get away with a bit of sentimentality.

But that's the whole problem for Juno; a film that casts itself as so desperately counter-culture can't survive buckets of lovey-dovey montage ("obvious" music usage was a major irritant throughout) and a complete mire of emotional clich├ęs. Which, sure enough, is what we end up with.

I was turned off in the first twenty minutes by the fact that EVERYONE appears to quip. Hearing "honest to blog?" uttered is bad enough, but that's comparatively just a minor crime. Some lines led me to hair-tearing. The Oscar-winning script, and its writer, are surely enough receiving plenty of attention, and much of that is negative.

It's hard to say why Diablo Cody is receiving such criticism now. It's arguable that jealousy comes into it. After all, if her film hadn't grossed $150mil at the box office, we'd probably be OK with it, right? But while her supporters claim she's simply paying the price for sticking out from the crowd, I'd submit that while that may be the case, no film script should draw so much attention from the rest of the movie. Or make me retch so much, for that matter.

Cody's script was wonderfully parodied in Bob Mackey's SomethingAwful.com article, which is getting circulation. I'd have to confess that while I was far from sold on first viewing, seeing that truly drove a stake through the heart of Juno, for me.

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