I'm going on record and predicting that 2012 will be the year Juno Temple becomes a star. Over the past decade, this young lady has been quietly moving up the ranks, crafting an impressive career by doing notable work in smart, small films like Notes on a Scandal and Gregg Araki's supercool Kaboom.
Temple will soon be kicking it up a notch by appearing in bigger, louder flicks like The Three Musketeers and The Dark Knight Rises. But before we see her engaging in Franco-steampunk swordplay or consorting with Catwoman in Gotham City, Temple is taking a trip to 1987 Oklahoma for Dirty Girl, Abe Sylvia's sassy, retro coming-of-age comedy.
As Danielle, a smart and stubborn Oklahoma teen, Temple takes center stage and trades her natural British accent for a convincing Southern drawl. Danielle is the prototypical bad girl who enjoys acting out and shocking the dolts that surround her. Her one friend is fellow outcast Clarke, an awkward gay classmate. When her mom becomes engaged to a Mormon named Ray, Danielle decides to run away and track down her long-lost dad. To escape military school, a fate worse than death, Clarke joins her, and together they hightail it to California. Of course, along the way, bonds are built, adventures are had and lessons are learned.
Although Dirty Girl seems to follow the usual coming-of-age template perhaps too closely, it appears to do so with a lot style and a fair amount of wit. Writer/director Sylvia has filled out his cast with solid supporting players, including Milla Jovovich, William H. Macy, Mary Steenburgen and scene-stealing newcomer Jeremy Dozier as Clarke.
The trailer for Dirty Girl starts strong, with an "Opposite of Sex meets The Breakfast Club" vibe, before veering off into excessively saccharine terrain, exemplified by the treacly line "Sometimes you've got to accept what life throws at you to find out what you're made of." But in this genre of movie, that's to be expected, so I think it's a forgivable offense. Besides, Temple's performance is just that strong and, hey, the sentiment is valid.
I do wish the producers had chosen a different name for this flick. The title Dirty Girl is tawdry and feels too easy and off-putting. And as Danielle's principal says, "Nobody like a dirty girl."
Could the poster be any more wannabe-Slums of Beverly Hills?? If it were anything approaching the awesomeness of that movie, I'd check it out. As is, sounds sappy and not my thing at all. Shame, cos I love the name and tagline.