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Diablo Cody: Above Critique?

Fox made a legal threat against sites who dared to criticize a soon-to-be-produced script by the Oscar nominee, but apparently let another site's not-entirely-positive script review remain live. What's up with that?

diablocody.pngFox Searchlight has sent a cease and desist notice to CC2K, a fanboy-friendly pop culture site, demanding that they take down a review of recent WGA winner Diablo Cody’s script for the upcoming teen horror flick, Jennifer’s Body. A message from the site’s editors where the review used to be notes that the C & D was “very polite,” but the net result is, all the same, “no snarky review of Diablo Cody’s new script for you!”

Kate Coe is tracking some of the surrounding chatter at FishbowlLA, including a snarky comment from a Hollywood Elsewhere reader implying that the C & D’s are part of a wider conspiracy on the part of Fox Searchlight to “prevent anything or anyone from getting in the way of this processed fairytale.” We’re all for pointing fingers at Searchlight’s processing department, but what seems even more interesting are signs that, in this case, there might be a double standard. This can’t be a pure issue of copyright, because it seems that Searchlight has ordered the removal of one script review, whilst letting another’s site’s script review stand.

Of note is the fact that Latino Review has not yet received similar orders on their Body script review––or, if they have, they haven’t complied. Latino Review’s post is dated January 8, and it was allegedly contributed by a tipster who asked to be called “Diablo’s Fan.” The tipster, who ultimately gave the screenplay a passing grade of B-/C+, goes out of his/her way to credit the “Diablo Cody humor, language, and one-liners” for saving Body from being an “oddly-paced, slightly incoherent horror comedy [that’s] trying too hard to be some genre-smashing cult-hit like Donnie Darko.” So even though it’s not exactly a glowing assessment of the overall product, the clear takeaway is that its very Diablo-ocity is what makes it special.

This is in contrast to the CC2K report, which was titled “What the F*ck is She Saying? A Look at the Dialogue in Diablo Cody’s Latest Screenplay.” I didn’t read the original post before the C & D, but according to Defamer, the author “stakes out an impressive four-point plan detailing the ‘bungles’ that Diablo made in her script.” The Defamer post then catalogs some of the choice phrases that CC2K isolated as being particularly WTF? Among them: “Slow down tardy slip. You sound like a sped.”; “Never Trevor. I’m hot like magma.”; and, in what has apparently become an internet-wide favorite: “Fried bologna is the bomb!” The clear statement here is that the Diablo factor might make Body special, but it’s the wrong kind of special––it’s, like, Riding the Bus With My Sister special.

Far be it for me to suggest that Fox Searchlight doesn’t have the right to selectively patrol leakage of information about their products. I’m just saying that of the two script reviews, the one that attacks the idea that Diablo Cody is a magical snowflake who can spray her unique pixie dust on an otherwise conventional script and give it indie cred is deemed inappropriate for internet consumption, whilst the review that reifies that fantasy is allowed to survive.

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