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Juno Sucks

By Amil Niazi

Thursday January 24, 2008

There’s something really grotesque and voyeuristic about reading a stranger’s blog. You are exposed to all the intricacies and minutiae of a life you are in no way connected to or care about, and yet you devour the details like a nosy mother thumbing through her teenage daughter’s diary. Only the entire time you are thinking about how horrible it’s going to feel when someone catches you. That is how I felt sitting through the movie Juno.

Though I saw it relatively early in its release, I couldn’t escape the backstory; Some Suicide Girl-type was a stripper and then a blogger and now she is an Academy-award nominated writer. Critics like her because she is so Web 2.0 and edgy. Moms like her because she is kind of wholesome, but still allows them to appropriate a sense of hip because she has a funky haircut. Oprah likes her because her mom still calls her by her real name. Triad of success, right?

Unfortunately, watching an entire film based on the ramblings and questionable musical tastes of another quick-spoken, acid-tongued thirtysomething disguising herself as a precocious teen is unbearable. From the heroine’s inexplicable life choices and detachment from all things meaningful, to the comical and horrifyingly clichéd marriage of the adoptive parents of Juno’s unborn child — each scene was like a parody of itself and worse, it felt like I was watching writer Diablo Cody reclaim the fantasy she always had about her idealized teenage self. Juno is supposed to be cool, sassy and smarter than adults. Only teenagers are idiots and it’s kind of sad for adults to pretend otherwise. So why is everyone shitting their mind’s for this movie?

In much the same way your grandmother and cable news pundits have shakily embraced the concepts of “blogging” and “facebooking” and manufactured quirkiness, they are embracing Juno en masse. “Oh my gosh, she talks on a hamburger phone!” “Look at her she says things that are wacky and make no sense, so hip!” Juno is precisely the kind of middle brow pap masquerading as subversive indie fare that mainstream audiences achingly lap up. At its core it’s an extended Degrassi High episode, only more pubescently painful to watch and far more removed from reality. It’s a groaning, moaning hour and a half after-school special written not by your parents, but by your disaffected babysitter next door.

It’s OK to like the film because it’s safe and totally unrealistic. Juno doesn’t get an abortion (like most real teenagers of her ilk would,) she glides through pregnancy as though it were a nasty case of gas — inconvenient, but temporary — and she talks the way stupid people think smart people talk, i.e., like a douche. Isn’t it the least bit disconcerting to anyone that the movie propagates such false happiness at the end? Teenage boys are not that sensitive and understanding, even the most patient parents could never be so complacent and having a baby at 15 probably fucks you up at least just a little. Like maybe it would take longer than a couple weeks for you to get your shit together enough to hum pretty little ditties with the father of your child, a child you very recently pushed out of your barely grown vagina and subsequently gave up for adoption to a lady who is obviously more than a little crazy and whose former husband is a total pedo.

In the end, Juno is like a temporary tattoo; little more than social artifice for those too scared and oblivious to handle the real thing.

Plus, it wasn’t funny at all and if it wins the Oscar for Best Picture I’ll kill myself. (Just kidding, no one cares who wins at the Oscars!)