|Everyone learns a thing or two about life when Juno, a sixteen year old girl, falls pregnant.||score
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Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Allison Janey, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons
Rating / Running Time
M / 91 minutes
(c) moviereview 2006-2008
ABN 72 775 390 361
|Ellen Page’s arrival as Hard Candy’s
ball-busting net-savvy pre-teen signalled a force to reckon with. As
Juno MacGuff, the tough-talking yet mercifully sweeter teenage
mom-not-to-be, Page consolidates her star-on-the-ascendant status.
Jason (son-of-Ivan) Reitman follows up his equally impressive debut, Thankyou For Smoking, with an altogether different assault on social mores. The first was a satirical blitzkrieg, Juno is from a warmer though no less cutting place.
Reitman drops Juno somewhere between Garden State and Broken Flowers; you expect Zach Braff and Bill Murray to be neighbours. While the landscape and its personal tics are familiar, he populates the story with thoroughly accessible characters. Juno is an ordinary, sharp-tongued adolescent with a hamburger phone and penchant for slurpies. Her boyfriend Bleeka is a skinny kid who lives in his bedroom when he’s not running track-and-field. Their ordinary lives become extraordinary two and a half months after fumbled intercourse.
Observational humour shines when no one realises they’re being watched. It’s this lightness of tone that distinguishes Juno. Reitman masters a quirky yet subtle stage in which progression does its pithy business. Enter childless yuppies who agree to adopt Juno’s offering (her pragmatic parents stand by their gal every step of the way) although it soon presents a new set of problems beyond her maturity.
There’s a lot to like about Juno. It starts with Page and Reitman and ends with an ensemble that includes Cera, the redoubtable Allison Janney, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons and Jennifer Garner. A peppy score of tangy, affirming tunes. As the film develops, so do its characters, from hilariously glib to delightfully poignant. Best of all, it resists the political debate of teenage pregnancy to simply concentrate on what it’s like for Juno to be Juno.
// COLIN FRASER