To quirk, or not to quirk: That is the question when discussion turns to Diablo Cody and Juno. Most viewers, whether they loved or hated the film, were quick to note the super-snappy, one-liner-laden dialogue. Our Scott Weinberg raved from TIFF, stating that Juno is "smart and sassy, warm yet frequently caustic, realistic but kinda storybookish -- and very, very funny." On the flip side -- ouch: "What a hideous piece of faux-hipster crap." "It's an inflated piece of filmmaking without any consideration of tone; it just floats out there on a rubber raft made of one-liners in a pool of cancerous indie comedy cred." "Juno pretends to care about real-world situations but is really interested only in its own trendier-than-thou cleverness, an obnoxious fantasy vision of teendom slathered in self-satisfied snark."

I get some of the derision. In a number of moments, it's funk-speak is taken a step or three too far. When Rainn Wilson says: "That Ain't no Etch-a-Sketch. This is one doodle that can't be un-did, homeskillet," I always wish he'd leave off the skillet part. The rest of the phrase is still catchy, but also not entirely shocking since Ellen Page's Juno shakes that stick just like an Etch-a-Sketch. It's too apt to be unbelievably clever.

I sometimes wonder: is the chatter really that bad? Why does it hit audiences so much harder than classic flicks that create their own speak (Heathers, Clueless)? And, is the dialogue so distracting that naysayers just can't push past the Cody slang to see the perks beneath?
categories Columns, Cinematical