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Juno? No, I don't...

01.17.2008

The following is an editorial and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of JoBlo, JoBlo.com or Batman. But, for the record, Batman would totally hate this movie too.

It's highly possible that when all is said and done, JUNO will be one of the most financially successfully indie movies of all time. It's got a 93% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes and our own reviewer gave it a 9.5/10. It will surely receive Oscar nominations for its script, it's actress and possible for itself. And at the end of the day, I can't figure out what the hell I'm missing.

Before you ask, I'm not a victim of overhype backlash. I was lucky (??) enough to see JUNO before the hype machine kicked into overdrive so all I had heard was some relatively positive feedback from people I knew who had seen it. I even sought out local press screenings, which I never do. Leading up to the screening, however, I began to get a sinking feeling I wasn't going to enjoy the movie.

There are some movies you know you're going to love. Like TRANSFORMERS. I mean it's completely ridiculous, riddled with plot holes and full of hammy acting. But c'mon! It's giant, fighting robots! That's why I went to see it and that's why I liked it. Then there are some movies you just know you're not going to like. JUNO was shaping up to be one of those movies. Just the clips and commercials alone had me skeptical. Like that scene where Juno refers to Michael Cera's new girlfriend as Soupy Sales. Maybe I'm waaay out of touch with 16-year-olds but does Soupy Sales have a big following among high school juniors? Philo Kvetch references are the norm? (I'm 30 and even I had to Google that...)

Sure enough after about 15 minutes, I almost walked out and I never walk out of a movie. But I stuck through it for reasons I'm still not sure. "Maybe all the funny parts are towards the end," I told myself. Not quite. I couldn't help but think throughout the entire affair that if the script stopped trying so hard to be clever, it would be SO much better off. Why must the wisecracks come at such a rapid fire pace? JUNO doesn't have a bad script, it just has an overwritten one.

I've heard people say JUNO is a "hilarious comedy" but I can count the amount of times I laughed exactly once. (For the record it was Jason Bateman's reaction after he asks whether she's named after the town in Alaska.) And I never heard audible laughter once in the entire theater I was in watching it.

But seriously...this is what passes for funny? Saying words like "gob" and drinking gallons of Sunny Delight and using "Phuket, Thailand" as an expletive? "Honest to blog"? That's funny? OMG, she's calling on a hamburger phone!! LOLZ!!!

The good news is that I don't seem to be alone with my opinion. Just look at these quotes from reviews:

JUNO is "so heavy...with self-conscious cleverness" - Variety
"Id spent the first 15 minutes or so gnashing my teeth and checking my watch." - The New York Times
"Juno is not a great movie." - Time Magazine

See! I feel vindicated. Wait, JoBlo is handing me a note. What?! These quotes are actually from positive reviews? Yup, it turns out that people who liked the movie agree with me. So why do people like it so much?

My disclaimer to the above is that I believe that almost everyone involved with this film is extremely talented. I was singing the praises of Ellen Page back in HARD CANDY days and this movie only furthers the genius of Cera and Jason Bateman. And while everyone is talking Page for an Oscar, the real performance in this movie is Jennifer Garner is the chilly soon-to-be adoptive mother. There's a Best Supporting Actress candidate right there.

Not since the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy have I felt so woefully out of the collective consciousness. But I don't have very exotic tastes and I tend to skew pretty mainstream so I have a hard time believing I'm the only one out there who is mystified by the success of JUNO.

So let's open up a debate. Not a flaming e-mail/post match because that will do nothing but make me cry. I'm talking about a healthy discourse on the merits of JUNO. Those who love it and those who hate it share your reasons below. Maybe we can get to the bottom of this mystery.

Source: JoBlo.com

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