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THIS FILM SEEMS TO BE A CRITIQUE, OR A DECONSTRUCTION OF THAT STEREOTYPE. IS THIS A FAIR WAY OF LOOKING AT IT? If you want to read it like that, that's fine with me. But to tell you the truth, my thoughts are a little more complicated than that. That was a term invented by a blogger, and as far as I'm concerned it's a more a critical way of looking at something than it is a creative way of looking at something. Some of the characters that have been critiqued as such I would agree are two-dimensional, and that is something I was thinking about when I started writing this. But I've read critical pieces that have described Annie Hall as a manic pixie dream girl, or Katharine Hepburn's character in Bringing Up Baby, and as far as I'm concerned those are fully fleshed characters played by really intelligent actresses and it's a kind of misogynist undermining to apply that term to them.

BUT DOESN'T YOUR FILM CRITIQUE IT . . .? I think the term is a way of diminishing the impact of an individuated person. There's no male equivalent of that type. So I wish people would stop using that term, because if they stopped using it, they wouldn't see it so much. That's part of what I was trying to write about — how dangerous it was to reduce a person to an idea. It's like the word "quirky." "Quirky" doesn't mean anything really. It's a way of labeling something and dismissing it.

HOW ABOUT "WACKY?" Yeah, "wacky" is a similar term. I actually think "wacky" is a little more descriptive. You know, someone asked Paul [Dano] once, "Why do you do these quirky movies like There Will Be Blood and Little Miss Sunshine?" And if one word can encompass those two movies, then the word has no meaning. That's how I think of that term — it has no meaning.

I WAS THINKING THIS MIGHT BE THE ONLY MOVIE THAT IS DIRECTED BY A COUPLE, STARS A COUPLE, IS WRITTEN BY A MEMBER OF ONE OF THOSE COUPLES, AND IS ABOUT THE DYNAMICS OF COUPLES. IS THIS GETTING A LITTLE TOO POST-MODERNIST? There are meta-levels there if you want to go looking for them.

For Peter Keough's interviews with Paul Dano, Valerie Faris, and Jonathan Dayton, go to thePhoenix.com/movies.

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