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Juno (2007)

A comedy about growing up... and the bumps along the way.

Directed by:

Jason Reitman

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

On DVD

Country: United States

I saw Juno three times in the theater, and I even cried at two of those viewings, but by the time months had passed and it got to DVD, it had lost a little of its appeal. I stand by my original love for it, though, and attribute my waning affections to over-viewing—plus the dialogue is starting to irk me. No matter what, though, I’ll always love the soundtrack.

Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a smart, cynical sixteen-year-old who winds up pregnant from a one-time encounter with her best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). After the initial shock wears off, and she decides that abortion is off the table because her fetus apparently already has fingernails, our girl Juno takes matters into her own hands and decides to give the baby up for adoption to a seemingly perfect couple in need of a child (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) that she finds in the Penny Saver. Turns out, though, that Juno’s quips and comebacks don’t cover everything, and in the end, she discovers more about herself and the people she loves than she ever expected.

When Juno was the next big thing, everyone was ga-ga over Page, and she even got an Oscar nod for her starring role. She’s good, don’t get me wrong, but the supporting cast is the true soul of the movie. Cera is heartbreaking as confused and underestimated Paulie, Bateman is both likable and uber-creepy as the way-too-soon-for-a-midlife-crisis adoptive dad of Juno’s spawn, and Garner is just good. J.K. Simmons and Alison Janney as Juno’s father and stepmother were probably my favorites in the film, and in their capable hands, even the unrealistic acceptance of their daughter’s pregnancy is credible and touching. Plus—and I don’t say this lightly—the soundtrack is essential, and it made me dig through my garage to find my old If I Were a Carpenter CD just to hear Sonic Youth’s “Superstar” cover. Good stuff.

The major complaint and the major compliments for this film all seem to direct themselves at the dialogue—either it’s too trendy or it’s very clever. I get that—and it’s both. Diablo Cody has crafted characters with their own language, and though the movie can almost get lost in its quirkiness, there’s a heart under all the cool cleverness—just like in Juno herself. I do really despise the phrase, “Honest to blog,” however, and it hurts my ears every time I hear it. This isn’t the movie for everyone, and after a while, the neat resolutions seem to facilitate cute dialogue instead of providing deeper levels, but it’s entertainment, and even flawed, Juno is a fresh take on teen angst.

It's Got: Lots of funny, a sarcastic sweetness, a whole cast of goodness.

It Needs: To calm down on the quippage, a few not-so-nicely-tied-up ends

DVD Extras Audio Commentary (Jason Reitman, director and Diablo Cody, writer); 11 Deleted Scenes; Gag Reel; "Cast and Crew Jam" (cast and crew doing "Do What You Want" by OK Go); Screen Tests; Four featurettes: "Way Beyond 'Our' Maturity Level: Juno-Leah-Bleeker," "Diablo Cody is Totally Boss," "Jason Reitman For Shizz," and "Honest to Blog!: Creating Juno." DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

For Keeps, Knocked Up, Pretty in Pink

Summary

Juno has its moments of too cool for schoolness, but there’s a great big ‘ol heart in there that makes it worth it. Fo shizz.

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