Juno Addendum

Ok one more thing that sticks in my craw about Juno is that one of the adjectives used in nearly every review of the film and/or interview with screenwriter Diablo Cody is that it’s so “original,” yet, I can spot at least one joke that was stolen nearly word for word from a Mike Myers movie. The line about not being attracted to a girl because she “smells like soup” is wholly lifted from So I Married an Axe Murderer—not even a good Mike Myers movie, but a lesser-known one, so clearly more ‘indie’—someone asks Myers why he’s not into a certain girl and he says “She smelled like soup. She smelled exactly like beef vegetable soup.” And that was what, 10 years ago? 15? That’s plagiarism, baby!

And I’m sure there are many other examples in Juno whose references I just don’t get. Cody has admitted to being a voracious consumer of pop culture and this movie is more a collection of obscure references/thefts than something that sprang sparkling and original from her brain. She’s more an encyclopedia than a creative genius. And it’s more evidence that her writing seriously needs an editing, that she needs to deepen and mature as a writer and learn some control.

Ugh what am I Nanny McScreenwriter? I guess my former writing-teacher training still guides me. I like Diablo Cody. I really do. I’m only pointing this out because there seem to be so many morons out there who are allowing themselves to be fooled, gushing over what is essentially a promising but very rough first draft of a screenplay.

11 Responses to “Juno Addendum”

  1. January 9th, 2008 | 6:43 pm

    Stop making excuses for her!

  2. Anon
    January 11th, 2008 | 1:47 am

    Manohla Dargis excerpt from her year-end roundup: Like “Knocked Up,” it pivots on a fertile hottie who has sex without protection and, after a little emotional messiness (and no scary diseases), delivers one baby and adopts a second, namely the man-child who (also) misplaced the Trojans. Both comedies superficially recall the male wish-fulfillment fantasies of “Sideways,” but without the lacerating adult self-awareness.

    Full review here

    Regardless of how one feels about the movie, I can’t see how anyone can miss the structural similarities to Knocked Up — Dargis’s shorthand summary gets the meat, but there’s so much more. Consider:

    The pregnant woman’s best friend is supportive but the movie undercuts her completely. The pregnant woman considers abortion but dismisses the idea early on — via a scene isolated from the rest of the movie via the fact that it involves characters we never see again (the mom in Knocked Up, the protesting classmate in Juno). The middle part of the movie is highjacked by marriage woes of an older, well-to-do couple where the woman wants to build a family and the man won’t grow up. The older man is supposed to be “cool” because of his connection to music. The pregnant woman manages to end the movie more financially secure than at the start. The younger male lead is strongly associated with a beloved, canceled TV series.

    You don’t have to claim plagiarism to see that Juno isn’t even that original for this movie season. It’s almost eerie.

    Anon

  3. January 11th, 2008 | 5:49 pm

    that’s pretty sad, i haven’t seen knocked up but it’s clear from your evidence that it’s a total ripoff of it. am i vaguely recalling that cody even said she wrote juno as a response to knocked up? i may have it all mushed up but either way there’s pretty much nothing original about the film.

  4. Dan
    January 17th, 2008 | 8:57 pm

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0453115/ (IMDB, Korean Movie: Jeni, Juno [comedy, 2005)

    Seriously, if that’s not enough for you to be like, “WTF, why are we going to reward someone who did a great job compiling a bunch of nostalgic and hilarious tidbits of other peoples work. I’ve heard talk that the director didn’t know about the other movie before he started working on it. That much could be true but the pushing line seems to be originality and considering that best original screenplay is floating around and all eyes are on Juno…I have to raise my eyebrows and wonder. There are so many similarities to Knocked Up that I almost vomited. Knocked Up was a great movie but I wouldn’t call it original. It was certainly funny. And I believe that had Juno waited maybe three years we’d all be ready for another laughfest about humans and their troubles with procreation. However, I really can’t overlook the fact that there is another movie dealing with almost identical situations in the same genre and not call “Shenanigans.” That stripper should stick to what she’s best at: a pole.

  5. January 18th, 2008 | 7:30 pm

    ok because of y’all’s comments i went and rented knocked up and … um … i don’t see so much similarity other than that they both are about unexpected pregnancies. i guess in a very wide sense, structurally, they are similar, maybe, but i just don’t get the sense of outrage that i was expecting after your comments. i could indeed see it as a response to the film more than a ripoff.

  6. Udayan
    February 3rd, 2008 | 7:51 am

    I haven’t seen Juno, but I just don’t agree that being influenced (or making little thefts) cannot result in someone being original. I suppose when critics are calling it original they mean it as a whole, and necessarily that all jokes, etc are original.

    Most importantly, from what I’ve read (and heard) it seems that the character are original (as oppossed to stereotypes or one-dimensional) and that then is perhaps the biggest achievement.

    As I said, I haven’t seen it, so I have to wait till I can really get back to you on this one.

    (And comparisons with Knocked-Up really isn’t justified).

  7. February 3rd, 2008 | 10:31 am

    weird that you would be moved to comment on critiques of a movie when you haven’t even seen it. and stealing entire jokes word for word is not “little thefts”, they are plagiarism. if juno were a book diablo cody would be discredited and likely sued by now, like that harvard student who wrote an indian-american teen novel, but for some reason in movies plagiarism is not taken seriously.

  8. February 13th, 2008 | 3:22 pm

    just read somewhere that the “he’s the cheese to my macaroni” is lifted from a beastie boys song as well.

  9. Sarah
    March 4th, 2008 | 5:50 pm

    yep: and “that’s not old school, that’s old testament” is, at least, season 1 veronica mars.

  10. March 6th, 2008 | 11:17 am

    wow. people please continue to post your examples of this film’s plagiarism, we’ll compose a list!

  11. June 22nd, 2008 | 9:39 pm

    wow this is funny, diablo cody on the harvard plagiarist: http://blogs.citypages.com/dcody/2006/05/how_opal_mehta_totally_cornhol.php