Tempestuous Edelstein

David Edelstein didn’t like Juno, and he lands some blows.

In the credit sequence of the teen-pregnancy comedy Juno, the title heroine (Ellen Page) strides with magnetic confidence through the streets of suburbia, and her trek metamorphoses into a wiggly, elating cartoon, with a girl-group pop song to reinforce the notion that headstrong Juno is her own universe. So far, so infectious, but in the next scene she goes to buy a pregnancy test from a snarky pharmacist and bizarrely blurts out everything she’s doing; she comes out of the bathroom and rants about the little plus sign. I know Juno is not supposed to care what other people think of her. I know she’s a poster girl (or will be) for the Facebook Generation—the one with zero sphere of privacy. But I could never go with her manic exhibitionism in the drugstore. She’s a screwball heroine, but it’s the writer, Diablo Cody, and the director, Jason Reitman, who have screws loose.

Ouch. It’s worth noting, however, that Edelstein also despised Rushmore, motivated in part (perhaps) by loyalty to Pauline Kael.

My first impression was that Max is supposed to be vaguely repulsive, but after spending some time with him (and seeing the movie again) I decided that there was nothing vague about it—he’s just repulsive.

Though I disagree with Edelstein (Rushmore is very fun, and so is Juno), he’s … kind of right, as is so often the case.