Review written on: February 6th, 2008

Juno Review

After hearing so much about Juno, I had expected to hate it, or at the least be unamused. I was pleasantly surprised when I actually really liked the movie. Ellen Page is a pip, as my grandmother would say. She speaks like those damn “Dawson’s Creek” kids, but ten times smarter, and much more entertaining. Writer Diablo Cody put adult words in a 16-year-old’s mouth, and in Ellen Page’s mouth they fit. A lesser actress would have come across as precocious, but Page seems completely natural.

Enough of my Ellen Page love-fest…the movie was really well done. Entertaining, amusing, charming. In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard about it, the movie is the story of a 16-year-old pregnant girl named Juno who basically got pregnant because she was bored one afternoon and had sex with her best friend. She decides to give the baby up for adoption and picks a lovely couple played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman.

The cast is fantastic. Allison Janney as Juno’s step-mother was a genius move of casting. Her delivery is perfect in every scene, especially the sonogram scene – which reminds me of her work in 10 Things I Hate About You. Michael Cera plays the father of Juno’s baby, and he’s just as awkwardly perfect in this as he was in Superbad. J.K. Simmons seemed to be the perfect father – hard worker, loves his kids (even though he gives them funny names), and supportive of his pregnant teenager.

In fact, one of the scenes that impressed me the most was when Juno tells her dad and step-mother that she’s pregnant. It was so real – her nervousness, their jumping to conclusions (thinking she’s on drugs), their matter-of-fact way of accepting her decision and moving on. I think it seemed so real because the humor wasn’t forced. The jokes weren’t there for the sake of being jokes. They were just funny things that happened or were said.

Perfect example – Juno’s little sister is named Liberty Bell. They call her LB a couple of times at the beginning of the movie, and then call her Liberty Bell throughout, never once explaining why she’s named Liberty Bell or acknowledging the fact that it’s not a normal name for a child. They explain Juno’s name (not like the city in Alaska, but like the Roman goddess), but never where they thought up Liberty Bell. It’s funny without them having to tell you it’s funny.

I think the only unfortunate part of the movie was that Jason Bateman wasn’t used to his full potential. He’s a funny, funny actor, and he wasn’t given the opportunity to be funny in this movie. Jennifer Garner, on the other hand, was perfect as Vanessa, the adoptive-mother-to-be. Rainn Wilson was also fantastic in his short bit of screen time – I can hear his line “This is one doodle that can’t be undid, homeskillet” in my head every time I think of the movie.

The movie was fantastic. I don’t know if it’s the world-changing thing everyone else thinks it is, but it’s definitely a five-star, gotta-see-it kind of film. Diablo Cody is a genius. Ellen Page is an actress to watch. And Michael Cera is precious.


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