Juno (2007)

Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, JK Simmons, Allison Janney, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Olivia Thirlby

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Rating: 1 2 3 4


On paper, Juno really isn't my kind of film.

Precocious teen Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) gets up the duff when she sleeps with her best friend Paulie because she's bored. Sharp as a tack and smart as a mod in a pinstripe suit, you'd think she'd have more sense, but apparently not. After toying briefly with the A word, she decides instead to give the baby up for adoption, to a wealthy, neurotic yuppie couple she finds advertising in the wanted pages of the local paper. But along the way she learns three key lessons in life: firstly, that just because you're cool, it doesn't make you a good person; secondly, that sometimes the best person you know is right under your nose, and thirdly, that if you love someone, you should let them know.

So far so warm and fuzzy. But a superb script from Diablo Cody that crackles with wry wit and gentle cynicism and another outstanding performance from Ellen Page as the mixed-up teen who hides her insecurity beneath a veneer of that world-weary, been-there-done-that, self-assured arrogance that only a sixteen-year-old can boast move Juno into a league of its own. Forget Knocked Up, think Little Miss Sunshine without the dead granddad, or Clueless in Converse and jeans.

Jennifer Garner as Vanessa Loring and Jason Bateman as Mark Loring in Jumo

Spider-Man's JK Simmons and Allison Janney (better known as CJ from West Wing) provide excellent support as Juno's long-suffering father and outspoken but supportive stepmother, and Jennifer Garner's uptight over-zealous earth mother is perfectly counterpoised by Jason Bateman (where did he suddenly spring from again? I thought Teen Wolf Too sounded the death knell of his career back in the '80s) as her laid back musician husband, clinging to his (sonic) youth amid a pile of baby books.

Sure, Juno is a bit too cool for school to be 4 real (the Stooges and Mott the Hoople? How?) and what she sees in dawky Paulie (played by Superbad's supergeek Michael Cera) is a bit of a mystery, but that won't spoil your enjoyment of this delightful, intelligent, genuinely funny film. Balancing smart alec sarcasm with smiley feelgood warmth, Juno is (wait for it) an inconceivably good film.

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