I'm Calling to Procure a Hasty Pop Reference

junowords

By now we’ve all had ample opportunity to latch on to pop-juggernaut Juno, with its Oscar worthy performance from break out star Ellen Page and memorable supporting work from Jason Bateman. That young Michael Cera was around for a short stint, though the trailers and ads-on-repeat would have us believe that he offered much more in both screen time and presence. Directed by Jason Reitman – great performances from top to bottom, in spite of a promising, but flawed Diablo Cody script hindered by a lack of restraint in its mumble-mouth verbosity. Any forward momentum towards an otherwise satisfying third reel was snuffed out in the first by the film’s own wordiness. To put it in Juno vernacular, the crammed-in pop references per second amount to one fat “doodle that can’t be un-did.” Nonetheless, its critical and financial merit can’t be denied, and there’s likely a Best Picture nomination in store. Last weekend Juno continued its rise from limited release on December 5th to the second spot at the box office this weekend, pulling 15.9 million and beating out I Am Legend .

The success of the film ensures that studios won’t be trolling the festival circuit for the next Little Miss Sunshine, they’ll be sniffing out the next Juno . Let’s not get it confused, regardless of the initial production budget, all the indie pretense needs to come full-stop once the marketing budget dwarfs the initial production costs of one of these once-modest pictures. (Not that Juno even scrimped on the star-power. Related discussions at Spout and Cinematical.) It’s a shame to see a good, not great film in Juno see daily commercial spots when Tamara Jenkins The Savages, another Fox Searchlight sibling – superior in every way (especially in humility) – gets the brush-off. The next time I see an spot for the Laura Linney and Phillip Seymore Hoffman comedy on prime-time will be the first.

Anyway, it is possible to out-smug Juno. The self-propagated mystique of rookie screenwriter Diablo Cody has taken on a life of it’s own, covered relentlessly from everywhere like The New York Times to Wired. By asking questions that he (and the world) already knows the answers to about the scribe like, “Were you ever a stripper?” on AMC’s Shootout, Variety’s Peter Bart accomplishes the Herculean task of coming off more obnoxious than the words fed to Ellen Page. You can read the pained expression on Cody’s face, of which she later blogged, “he was full of condescending questions…You’ll see him asking when I plan to be a normal woman and have children!” (More from the interview, via Cinematical.)

Related: Karyn Kasuma to direct Cody’s “comedic thriller,” Jennifer’s Body (Variety)

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Posted by Ted Zee on January 08th 2008 | Home Page | 1 Comment Subscribe to this site's feed

One Response

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