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"Juno" What? It Sucks

Juno1 Hey! It's teens having sex and getting pregnant! There's extended dialogue about alt-rock bands! And a nerdy kid in running shorts! Plus a scene in a hospital with some crying! But it's happy crying!!

Really?

I can't possibly stand alone in detesting Fox Searchlight's surprise hit "Juno," the coming-of-age teen dramedy with a relentlessly annoying central character who is somehow stupid enough not to use protection and yet manages to command the vocabulary of a 50 year-old comedy writer-slash-Cornell humanities professor.

I mean, really?

It was early December, a blissful time when almost no one had heard of this film yet. Neither had I.

"You'll like it, it's a comedy. You like comedy," my friend said, pointing at my oversized David Letterman sweatshirt.

But then, for the next 96 minutes, as my film-going companion (along with the rest of the moderately-filled theater), laughed uproariously at the young white girl sarcastically claiming to be Morgan Freeman on her shiny plastic hamburger phone, I rolled my eyes and shifted in my seat. Little did I know that weeks down the line, the American public would make this pretentious, irritating16 year-old the second most beloved fictional protagonist next to Nicolas Cage looking for some more treasure.

Juno is a "misunderstood" high-school student who finds herself impregnated by (cue laugh track) the running geek who apparently owns no clothing other than sweatsocks and his team's uniform. Tedious scenes follow where Juno has to tell her parents and friends, in her appallingly self-righteous way, that she is with child. Confrontations with the track and field dork ensue, along with predictably uncomfortable episodes with the rich couple who wants to adopt Juno's
baby- awkward because Juno even further puffs up her bratty self to show how inappropriate she can be at all times. And because she is the lead character in a super progressive "indie" movie, no one ever slaps her. The prospective adoptive mother is played by Jennifer Garner, who
(sadly) refuses to utilize the ass-kicking skills she learned on the set of  "Alias" to beat some sense into any of the other characters.
In that regard, Juno is lucky to be pregnant. Pregnant ladies, as a rule, should not get smacked by Jennifer Garner.

When the nerdy baby daddy turns cold on our poor pregnant alterna-teen, who of course, for the dramatic visual, continues to attend classes at eight months, I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, someone who miraculously grew some common sense and walked away from this haughty, entitled know-it-all who conveniently erases those traits when it comes time for a kitchen table talk with Dad about true love, or an awkward exchange with the sonogram technician- that's when, lump in throat (!) Mommy comes to the rescue and dresses the bitch down.

I should have seen it coming. Everything from the "dude"-peppered screenplay on down to the teeth-clench inducing orange and green animated graphic that accosts my daily web activities reeks of cold film executive calculation.

"So, it's gonna have funky rock music, right?"

"Right! So people will know it's a 'funky, alternative' kind of movie."

"And an angry teen who talks back to her parents in hyper-literary language that could never come out of the mouth of a real 16 year-old."

"Exactly, that will make critics like it. But don't forget, eventually there's acceptance and crying! And someone has a baby!"

Critics, check. Suckers for rom-coms, check. Edgy teen pregnancy subject matter street cred, check. Michael Cera in running shorts, triple check.

So, it's not a "surprise" hit after all. It's almost as deliberately commercial as, well, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, quite frankly. Don't be fooled by the absence of Nic Cage and "'splosions."
I know I wasn't.

Despite its 0 for 3 status at the Golden Globes, the film will continue to make millions of dollars and collect a slew of other award nominations, maybe even a few major wins.

But I will never cave. I don't care what America says.

I still say this movie sucks, "Juno?"

-- Miki Yamashita
SAG   AFTRA   AEA

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Second time, I say "Kudos" to you. After seeing the movie, I felt absolutely nothing. Nothing toward it or any of the characters. Not hate, not pity, not love, not awe, nothing. Blank stare... that's all I was left with after seeing Juno.

Thanks for taking the time to write a smart review of this movie. I also wasn't on board for the ride and I knew it even before the hyper-contrived dialog began spewing. It exhausted me just listening to it. Nobody talks that way and the first 5 minutes are vomit inducing.
Something you failed to comment on that drove me and my movie dates crazy was the fact that there was a new, precious song for practically every scene, as if it needed each scene to be its own little music video. I've talked to people who didn't even notice this and they also can't believe I don't love this little indie that could. Please... this is schmaltz. It's just dressed in a flannel.
Props to to most of the cast for actually trying to bring some real feeling to the stilted, bullshit dialog, with the exception of Ellen Page who has really only one scene that resonates as truth. I don't remember what it was... yawn.

thank you. I wholeheartedly agree. you might also note the out-of-place racism, the hilariously phony dialogue, the contrived cry scenes ("sonic youth is a bunch of noise!"), the intensely one-dimensional characters, the stupid stock "indie" characters (Ooh! A little girl in a dance outfit! He likes Tic-Tacs!), the weird approach to parenting (parenting = being a smart-ass at all times), and the random scenes that come from nowhere (great! stand up for Juno against that bitch nurse! keeping sticking it to the, umm, system of, umm, . . . oh fuck those smug nurses!).

The respect this movie is receiving seems only to be explainable by critics'/viewers' ignorance of some of the reference points and being put on the defensive. Or, everyone is stupid.

Man am I glad I'm not the only one feeling this way. I've seen some bad movies, but nothing has been bad enough for me to simply stop watching it. This movie, however, I absolutely had to walk away from. The dialogue and character development was so astoundingly forced that I was cringing whenever someone opened their mouth. Some bad acting and bad writing and bad scenes in movies can be laughed at. Watching Juno though, was like listening to nails on a chalkboard.

Thank you all for your articulate and wonderful comments! And Buster, you are right, the music-video factor was horribly annoying. More pieces coming up soon both here and on my myspace blog, so guys, please add me if you are so inclined: www.myspace.com/mikiyamashita

i googled 'juno sucks' and this entry came up. good work. i hate these film nerds who are sucking its dick

THANK GOD!!!!!!! Someone finally gives this movie the beatdown it deserves. The ONLY one to blame for the paper thin charactars, shitty music and even shittier dialouge is Diablo Cody, the whore turned screnwriter/pseudo hipster bitch Diablo Cody. She thinks that peppering in references to Soupy sales and Thundercats makes her a smart and unique soul. fuck her and her dumbass classic lunchboxes. I wished at the end of the movie(Which, at my theater, ended in applause) Travis Bickle, The Hitcher, and Ben from Man Bites Dog came into the theater, pulled Juno from the screen, blew her head off, and showed the auidence what true alternative cinema is supposed to be. THe REAL sad part is that I came into the theaterthinking this was going to be a good movie. I will never be fooled by Critical response again.

P. S. A minor complaint about the movie, If you know who Dario Argento is, you better damn well know who H. G. Lewis is. It's a fucking rule of thumb. Get Your shit staright Ms. Cody, if that is possible.

i fucking hate juno and all the douchebags who worship it. i've never been so disappointed in my life.

This was the academys way of saying they are "hip" so they chose this retarded movie

ellen page cant act shes a squinty eyed moron shes like george clooney who also can "sometimes act"

My husband and I walked out of the movie after 20 minutes of it.... I never liked Ellen Page to begin with... I don't know of ANY teenage girl who speaks her. She too precocious and I feel like she's "acting" Page is not a natural. I don't understand how this movie got such great reviews either. I wanted to smack every character in the movie!

I disagree completely.
I think the movie was great. It's smart and quirky. It's truly a wonderrful, indie film.
It deals with what tenagers are going through these days. Obviously yew are not a teenager and have no idea what we go through because yew grew up-What a hundred years ago because of the way yew talk about this movie?
The movie tells us what girls go through if pregnant and the problems that go with it. It sends a good message about no matter what your family and the ones you love will be there.
Next time think of it in the eyes of who the movie was made for.
It wasn't made for old grown-ups who grew up in an age where everything was fine and dandy.

I have another thing to add: 16-year-olds aren't as naive or slow as you may think. We have intelligence and a decent vocabulary. We actually have opinions and brains, who think for themselves.
How about having some respect for teenagers?
By the way our generation will be the ones to come up with a cure for cancer, an end to global warming, and a better country-wide health plan.
Please stop with the plethora of negative comments because it's better than all of that murdering, depressive films out there.


The characters in Juno were walking one-liners. It was like watching Gilmore Girls for two hours. The same thing happened with Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night. Cody's script suffers immensely from Sorkin Syndrom--unrealistic, rapid-fire dialog. Works on "The West Wing" but not in high school.

But to Cody's credit she adds a few variations to Sorkin Syndrom: peppering in jokes that might not fit with the current scene / character's state of mind, murdering otherwise good jokes with needless prepositional phrases and compound sentences ("look at me, i'm a writer, watch me flatten a joke because i'm out of touch and didn't know when to show restraint"), obligatory name dropping (especially when concerning music), and general creative masturbation.

She's in love with herself and she must be stopped. Through SONG.....

Ok, so I totally disagree with your argument here. This is thing... where do you come from? I bet you are part of the upper class of society, and you can't relate to the story of underclass midwestern girl. I don't think she is a "misunderstood" teen, she's just a smart-alecky kid. And her dialogue totally fits her personality. Also, her character embodies the niavety of 16 year old girl who is confused about life. this is NOT another stupid teen movie, this is soooo much more. and also, you cannot deny acting. i'm a theatre major myself, and it's so hard to find a movie where every actor adds so much detail to their character. I really think you don't like this movie because you can't relate to it. So before you start judging it... look at it, think about it, and maybe you can discover the depth within this story.

Ok, so I totally disagree with your argument here. This is thing... where do you come from? I bet you are part of the upper class of society, and you can't relate to the story of underclass midwestern girl. I don't think she is a "misunderstood" teen, she's just a smart-alecky kid. And her dialogue totally fits her personality. Also, her character embodies the niavety of 16 year old girl who is confused about life. this is NOT another stupid teen movie, this is soooo much more. and also, you cannot deny acting. i'm a theatre major myself, and it's so hard to find a movie where every actor adds so much detail to their character. I really think you don't like this movie because you can't relate to it. So before you start judging it... look at it, think about it, and maybe you can discover the depth within this story.

"I bet you are part of the upper class of society, and you can't relate to the story of underclass midwestern girl."
Tell me, Charlie, are you a midwestern girl?

i think the thing that makes me so upset is that the people who love juno always say "at least its not some bloody and violent and angry movie", and how everyone complained that juno was the only bright spot at the oscars this year...well you know why, because the best movies reflect the society in which they were created...and todays society is a little violent and our future is a little dark....so good films reflect this. then idiot fantasies like juno come along and reflect a world that doesnt exist and will never exist, no matter how much you want to think that you are just like juno, and people eat it up. including normally smart people like roger ebert, who probably just really wants to bone ellen page...ive noticed he will forgo sense and reason if the lead actress is cute.

anyways all that to say juno sucks, and teenage girls, you are not like her, you are not half as clever as her and if you think you are, then just know that all your friends find you insufferable. and this is directed to chloe, specifically- if you want respect from us older folks, please dont spell you "yew". thats almost as obnoxious as juno.

"It wasn't made for old grown-ups who grew up in an age where everything was fine and dandy."- yeah it was made for suckers who think a world like that ever existed, or could exist, a world where a 16 year old girl can get pregnant and the worst thing that she will have to face is trying to figure out if the moldy peaches are better than mott the hoople.

Just thinking about Juno makes me angry.

Jordan...come on, man, there's nothing wrong with fantasy. I don't like Juno either, but the whole concept of something that isn't "dark" not being worth anyone's time is foolish. These days, charm and nostalgia are dismissed as idiot fodder, and the goal for most directors is to see how violent, perverse, and obscene they can get. That leads to critics fawning over soul-crushing stuff like No Country for Old Men or There Will Be Blood, while movies that people actually see are dismissed as "simple and sentimental". What's wrong with simple and sentimental?

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