The word “quirky” has become the quick and easy way to describe films such as “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Lars and the Real Girl” that straddle the lines between indie and studio films and comedy and drama. While “Juno” fits into that same category, this distinctive dramedy is in a class all its own. Ellen Page (“X-Men: The Last Stand”) stars as Juno, a witty teenage girl whose boredom doesn’t lead her to the mall. Instead, she makes a one-time trip into the arms of her best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). When Juno discovers that she’s pregnant, she’s forced to grow up fast as she tries to find adoptive parents for her quickly growing child. JUNO might have a lot of strengths–Page’s award-worthy performance, a pitch-perfect soundtrack, excellent direction from Jason Reitman–but it’s the screenwriting debut of writer Cody Diablo that makes this such a winning film. Famous for her blog and her book CANDY GIRL: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF AN UNLIKELY STRIPPER, Diablo has a unique voice and an incredible ear for dialogue. But even the nearly perfect script wouldn’t sound so good if it weren’t for the talents of these actors, particularly Page. She won raves for her first major role in HARD CANDY, but this performance proves it wasn’t a fluke. The rest of the cast, especially J.K. Simmons as Juno’s dad, is just as worthy of attention. JUNO continues Cera’s cinematic ascent after his success with the hit comedy “Superbad,” and his “Arrested Development” costar Jason Bateman uses his dry delivery to great effect as a potential parent for Juno’s baby. Songs from Kimya Dawson perfectly capture the film’s tone with the music’s sweet, smart, and funny sounds.
“Juno” is cute and sassy–but the first thing that came to mind watching the movie was “over-rated.” What 16-year-old kid talks this way? Now don’t get me wrong, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was way over done but it was fun. I might believe a 16-year-old girl listening to The Stooges, I barley believe it, but Mott the Hopple? Not even 40-year-olds still dig all those young dudes. This was written by a woman who is over 30 and wrote herself into the character of a kid. The dialogue is way too contrived and not real. And how could anyone under 40 even know who the hell Soupy Sales is? It felt too much like “Arrested Development” without all the great characters and snarky appeal.
The plot is actually interesting but it was far to difficult to get over the dialogue, which in my opinion hurt the brilliant Ellen Page. She is quite the actress–too bad she had to spew so much nonsense. One of the best characters ends up being secondary–her father and Jason Bateman. Juno doesn’t come off as witty and interesting–after a while you just wanted her to get the kid out.
* Diablo Cody is Totally Boss featurette
* Jason Reitman for Shizz featurette
* Way Beyond “Our” Maturity Level: Juno – Leah – Bleeker featurette
* Honest to Blog!: Creating Juno featurette
* Gag Reel
* Gag Take
* Cast and Crew Jam
* Screen Tests
* Deleted Scenes
* Commentary with director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody
“Juno” is a certainly an acquired taste.