Thursday, January 17, 2008

Juno - Movie Review

JUNO (****) - Starring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Thirlby and Rainn Wilson. Directed by Jason Reitman.

I've heard many people say this is the Little Miss Sunshine of 2007. I disagree. I thought LMS was overrated but this is the real deal. Director Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking) and screenwriter Diablo Cody have crafted a delightful teen comedy in the tradition of Ghost World and MTV's Daria.

The dialogue is distracting at first. Everyone talks like they have 100 zingers at their fingertips. When Juno says to a clerk "Silencio, old man!" it sounds like a 29-year-old screenwriter told her to say it, but the movie finds its rhythm, and then the characters get comfy with the dialogue and we're able to settle in.

Let's put it this way. Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes had dialogue far too elaborate for a six-year-old, but that was part of that comic strip's charm. And so liveth they in the world of Juno.
Juno (Ellen Page) is a tomboy 16-year-old who gets pregnant after taking the virginity of her best friend Bleeker, played with tender insecurity by Michael Cera (Superbad). I think Cera's the funniest actor of his generation. (Can you name one better?) The look on his face when informed of Juno's condition is priceless.

Juno chickens out on getting an abortion and decides to put her baby up for adoption, finding the perfect match with yuppie couple Vanessa & Mark (Garner & Bateman).

The movie's observant about human behavior and relationships, and several actors get complex characters to delve into and play with. It makes me excited for what Diablo Cody will offer next.

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