Two years ago, Diablo Cody’s script for Juno warmed America’s hearts, nabbing a Best Original Screenplay Oscar along the way. All along she’s had her detractors, though, including our own David Edelstein. (On Juno: “I loathed it.”) With Jennifer’s Body, out today, it looks like the rest of the film-critic community has caught up. Herewith, the fall of a critical darling, as told through movie-review quotes.
“As for Diablo Cody, her script is a gem. Come to whatever conclusions you wish about her vivid persona — but see the movie first.” —The New Republic’s Christopher Orr on Juno, Dec. 14, 2007
“Cody’s dialogue shoots from the hip with delightful invented IM-speak. ‘Honest to blog?’ gasps Juno’s best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) upon hearing the baby news, and that’s when the movie had me, two minutes in. By the third trimester, Juno is acknowledging her iconic status in the school hallways: ‘They call me the Cautionary Whale.’” —The Boston Globe’s Ty Burr, Dec. 14, 2007
“[United States of Tara] was created and written by Diablo Cody, who wrote Juno. Not surprisingly, Tara’s two children, 15-year-old Kate (Brie Larson) and 14-year-old Marshall (Keir Gilchrist), stand out instantly: they are Junoesque characters, funny and touching in very different ways. Both are urbane, smart-mouthed and kindhearted.” —The New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley, January 15, 2009
“The ideal specimen of a Diablo Cody line … is pleased with its own cleverness almost to the point of hostility, sneering as it snaps past. So, here, we get, ‘Sometimes you make me feel like I’m living in a Lifetime lady-tampon movie’; ‘That dude is such a waste of hair product’; ‘I’ve been diggin’ around your closest for an hour, and I still can’t fuckin’ get to Narnia.’ For whatever reason, Cody has front-loaded her scripts with this stuff — is she trying to alienate the audience? Sitting through the grating first reel of Juno felt at times like a test of character, but I left the movie with a lump in my throat. Tara doesn’t yet show the same emotional depth as Juno. —Slate’s Troy Patterson, January 15, 2009
“Jennifer’s Body seems designed more to be quoted than watched. This is the sophomore production from Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, similarly told through ultra-stylized slangy teen dialogue, which is cool, in theory, in the way it respects the verbal resourcefulness of idle flyover kids, but is excruciating to listen to in actual fact.” —The Village Voice’s Nick Pinkerton, September 15, 2009
“As screenwriter Diablo Cody might say in her irritatingly pop-cult way, this zombie-chick horror-satire is more dead-eyed than Blake Lively.” —The Daily News’ Joe Neumaier on Jennifer’s Body, currently at a 36 percent Tomatometer reading, September 17, 2009