Juno

 "Juno" is the little film that could
Ellen Page steals the show (and my heart).

Cinematically speaking, I have completely fallen for a certain pregnant 16-year-old girl with a smart mouth and an even smarter wit. Yes, I have a crush on Juno - the heroine of this year's brightest and funniest film.

Before we get into the plot, let me jut say that "Juno" has all the elements needed for a triumphant, remarkable film. It's smart, witty, and incredibly engaging. Director Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking") and newcomer Diablo Cody have made a film with such huge heart, I can see the clever dialogue bouncing off the page with big cartoon hearts floating about - and badly drawn arrows tearing through them.

Ellen Page plays Juno MacGuff, a tiny spitfire with a wisecrack for every situation. She's a quirky hipster with a taste for music before her time and a love for Italian horror films. "It started with a chair," our heroine says in the opening scenes. Following an evening of experimentation with part-time lover and full-time friend Paulie Bleeker (the always incredible Michael Cera), brave little Juno finds out that she is pregnant.

Bleeker isn't quite the Casanova you might have him pegged as. As a member of the school's track tream, Paulie is constantly covered in sweatbands and extremely undersized running shorts. He's got a strange obsession with orange Tic-Tacs that only add to his overall eccentricity. In other words - he's perfect for Juno.

At first, Juno considers an abortion, but catches a nasty vibe at the clinic she visits. After revealing the truth to her supportive blue-collar father (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother (Allison Janney), Juno goes to the "Desperately Seeking Spawn" section of the penny saver in search of a good couple for her unborn bastard.

Who else would she find but Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark (Jason Bateman) who are the definition of Mr. and Mrs. Peachy Keen. They're ready to adopt and everything seems to be working out perfectly for Juno and the prospective parents of her child. The problem is, Mark (Bateman) is having doubts about his ability to be a good father and his decisions could bring everything to an earth-shattering hault.

"Juno" isn't one of those non-stop absurd comedies that sacrifice story and character for potential gags. No, Diablo Cody's script is funny in a sassy, quick-witted way. It's the kind of humor that causes a lot of smiles and endearing glances toward the silver screen.

The performances in this picture are entirely off the scale. Ellen Page delivers a breakthrough performance as edgy, yet lovable, Juno. Then there's Michael Cera who is so awkward at times it makes me feel as though I've impregnated someone without knowing it. J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney are perfect as the parents and nothing bad can be said about Garner and Bateman's role as would-be super-parents. Bateman's character of the unsure father is so completely human and genuine that at times I find myself having a hard time believing it's simply a character and not a real person.

There is no wasted dialogue in "Juno." Every line is worth listening to and enjoying for its own subtle charms. The script is polished beyond perfection. I'm not sure if I can find a flaw in it's simplistic, yet endearing story arc. This is the kind of film where I have to find a reason not to like it. I'm literally nitpicking every scene for grounds to not give this film a perfect score.

"Juno" might just be the best film of 2007. It's an emotional rollercoaster that treats the audience to a belly-full of laughter as well as some tear-filled eyes. Outstanding.

Reviewed by: adam
45 Comment(s)
Troy said...
I was really excited to see Juno. Everyone I talked to said it was fantastic. How could I not see it after reading Adam's review? I was hoping that it wasn't one of those movies like "Knocked Up" that was over-hyped and really just mediocre.

Well today I am going to say it is just that. Over-hyped and just mediocre. What the hell. Have all of our standards lowered to the point when we see a movie that isn't completely awful that we give it 5 stars. That's insane. "Juno" was a good movie and that's it. Nothing more and nothing less. Sorry Adam. I will never trust one of your reviews again. Especially after your "Transformers" review. That movie sucked:)
Paul said...
Troy, I agree completely with your assessment of Juno. It seemed like this was the first Indy film the mainstream audience has seen, and it was thrust upon their shoulders as a champion of cinema! Over-hyped is right. I'd much rather consider a movie like Rushmore, a movie with more originality and heart than Juno. I mean, is a 'teenage rebel' really that new of a thing? It certainly is an endearing story, and a good movie, but to me it's nothing out of the ordinary.

...but Transformers kicks ass
Shea said...
I really liked Juno...a lot. I don't know if deserves all the hype it's recieved and I think if Page is not careful she will slip in to a rutt.

I thought the movie was definitely more than mediocre and definitely not just some other Indie film.

Paul said...
What makes it so?
Shea said...
I think what I love about it is the fact that it deals with a hard issue like teen pregnancy from a perspective that I haven't really seen before(that doesn't mean its not there).

I think it is hard to compare it to Rushmore. Rushmore is a completely different movie about completely different things in life. Not even relavant to each other.

I mean come on... the story is great...pulls those little heart strings.
Andy said...
I thought Juno was a great movie, but didn't deserve all of the hype and praise it receieved. It was different and refreshing compared to what was out, but nothing groundbreaking. I grew weary of all of the obscure pop culture/music references. I think someone needs to ration out stars to Adam.
And Shea you are right about Page falling in a rut.
Paul said...
I'm not saying it's not a good movie. I'm saying it was over-hyped. There was SO much hype around this movie, Juno was practically America's little darling after this came out. I was expecting something amazing, I got something ho-hum.

As far as the heart-strings, whatever, she gave up her child, get out of my face!

I compare it to Rushmore, because it's not the first time we've seen a quirky kid deal with the challenges of adolesence. But I felt Rushmore was more orginal and interesting.
Paul said...
Grew weary...I feel you Andy.
Troy said...
I'm glad to hear that you guys don't think this MOFO is 5 stars either. Maybe 3 or 3.5 stars, but that's max. Well said on the heart-string issue Paul. I guess we could all get pregnant, have the kid and then continue to not have responsibilities. To Juno: You F'd up now OWN IT!
Andy said...
I think I am going to watch Juno and 4 Weeks, 3 Weeks and 2 Days back to back
Shea said...
"Own it!!!!!" Ha... fair enough.

I say 4 stars suckas.
Shea said...
Ugh... Now 4 Weeks...THAT IS AMAZING... ugh(in the towel on the floor)

Hey was that girl owning it?
Paul said...
Thank you Troy. It's funny, I think her parents were the best characters in the movie. As far as Juno, you know those arts commercials where the kid is walking down the street and sees a guy playing the guitar for change, and the kid tells him to get a job? Something about "support the arts". Juno...get a job, get a life, do something I care about besides getting knocked up. We all get it, you're indy...thanks.

I'd say 3...if I was feeling GENEROUS I could be convinced of 3.5
Troy said...
I fear this recent lashing out will anger Adam. Especially the Transformers comment. If it's any consolation Adam, I loved you in "Occupato":)
Shea said...
I thought her little sibling was one of the best characters and didnt get enough screen time.

I loved the scene where the step mom goes off on the nurse.

It got a little awkward turtle with Bateman and Page...but hey...i rolled with it.

I love the scene where she is crying in the van.

"I am a planet!"

Gotta love the stink eye.

Shea said...
Transformers will forever be a cavity in all of our relationships.
Andy said...
(in the towel on the floor)
not to be confused with "on the towel by the door"
Andy said...
(in the towel on the floor)
not to be confused with "on the towel by the door"
Nick said...
Ha. I just bought this and watched it for the second time yesterday. I love this movie!
Paul said...
You're a part-time lover and a full-time friend!
Bugga bugga bugga bugga, something laaaaame

sHUt yO fAcE!!!!!
Paul said...
Hah, I guess the musical notes didn't show up...who designed this crap anyway?
Nick said...
Paul: "The monkey on your back is the latest trend." :P

I *love* the music for Juno. It's one of the first times I've ever gone out and actually bought a soundtrack.
Shea said...
The first sound track I went out and bought was Mission Impossible.

...ANDY... are you referring to doing Matt Damon?
Andy said...
Yes...Yes I am...well the song
Optimus Prime said...
Hello warriors,
Optimus Prime here. Juno was just an okay movie, but I have to admit that Transformers really was a P.O.S. I mean "Criminals are hot" has got to be one of the worst movie lines ever, and might be the precursor to the end of John Turturro's career. Anyhow I have to go now and make another crappy movie that will make about a billion dollars. AUTOBOTS UNITE! Or whatever.
Troy said...
Thanks Optimus Prime for your honesty. It takes a big man, I mean robot, to admit something like that. Kudos!
Paul said...
Didn't you develop prostate cancer and transform into a coffin? I thought I saw that on a PSA you did?
Shea said...
wow...now we are even hitting up Robot Chicken... I am Fing Matt Damon to Robot Chicken...

Adam said...
Here's what i don't get: Shea reviewed Juno as well and refrained from even GIVING IT A SCORE, but in his review he said "one of the best of the year, in my top 5" and other such HYPE-FILLED statements. Just because I put a star rating on it, it's blasphemy? It's convenient for Shea to look back on this now and say "I Say 4 Stars", but if I recall didn't he give "Knocked Up" the equivalent of a 5?

Am I the only reviewer in the world that gave this movie a great score? I'm pretty sure this movie won a fucking ACADEMY AWARD so I'm not really seeing where I should be reprimanded for handing out stars.

Over-hyped? I mean, not at first - because at first it was a limited release, but yes after reviews had come out it was hyped as a good film. I don't see what the big deal is? I mean, the same thing happens to literally tons of movies every year.

Remember Napoleon Dynamite? Limited release - indie - out of no where, suddenly it gets a huge reception and goes full release and now everyone's quoting it. Why are people trashing on successful things?

No one looks at Spielberg and says he's over-hyped b/c he stuffs his pillowcases with $100 bills.

Welp, see you guys later - I"m going to go watch only obscure under-hyped never heard of films that no one will bother to watch so I can give them 5-star reviews and never be disputed!
Paul said...
Ha, I think Shea was defending Juno...not sure he deserved that.

No one's saying your an idiot for loving it, I just personally didn't think it was anything special, and certainly wouldn't consider it "Oscar-worthy"
Adam said...
Also, this movie was highly praised. It's got a 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (100% on Top Critics) and to be honest I've only seen a couple of negative reviews on the movie, so for those who aren't up to praising it - you're certainly in the minority on the matter.

Adam said...
I'm just saying, each film on our review list came down to a choice pretty much on whose review we should put up. I feel like a lot of times, mine are put up only to be torn apart because I actually hand out big scores when I think they deserve them.
Paul said...
Nah I wouldn't say that Adam. Like I said, Shea was defending it. Out of all of us, I'd agree that I'M in the minority. I saw it coming, I lowered my shoulder and I kept my legs moving. You've got 3/4 of the comments above supporting you, lift your head high brotha.
Paul said...
OH, and...I know it got all these rave reviews, Rotten Tomatoes and the like. That was my point, I don't understand why this movie has gotten so much praise.
Shea said...
Uh...Adam...don't make enemies with your only friend on this post. It was in my top 5 of last year and I do love this movie. And what does Knocked Up have to do with anything?

Shea said...
Yours are usually published because they are better.
Adam said...
This is the last I will say. I liked the movie a lot, I think it was certainly one of the best of 2007, with only "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" to be contended with.

Essentially, reviews are an opinion and obviously everyone has one - but not everyone cares to sit down and break apart the movie and give a review based on criteria they are talking about. It's easy to say things like "At most a 3.5" and give no real reasons as to why, Troy, and when someone asks you, it falls back on "It's just my opinion."

Anyway, what constitutes a 5-star movie? Maybe someone should send me an accredited, albeit completely safe and boring, list of classic 5-star films.

The snooty pretentious elite will name Citizen Kane and Metropolis and about 20 other films from the old days, and as soon as someone says "Well they're not that great now..." they will stand up for them and say "but for their time they were amazing and revolutionary and blah blah blah" but who actually wants to sit down and enjoy these films? Who, after seeing a movie like Citizen Kane, for the first time in this day and age would honestly say 5 STARS! A TOUR DE FORCE!

I could have given Juno a 4 or a 4.5 - but would my recommendation been as strong? a 5-star certainly got you to see it Troy, and that's all I am concerned with... whether you liked it or not, that's up to you - all I ask is that you see it.

Transformers. Better than every single Kubrick, Hitchcock, Kurasawa and Spielberg movie COMBINED!!! Now line up to throw stones!
Wait, one more thing. I wish people would comment and criticize me on MY OWN BLOG like this! Geez, I could use the support/hate. I'm getting 1 or 2 comments over there.
Andy said...
Adam...Troy doesn't like much, but I think you can unite over King of Kong.
Adam: For real. Same at my own blog.
Troy said...
Damn Adam. You're soooo sensitive. I know you loved Juno, and that's great. Good for you. I along with a few others didn't think it was that special, although I thought it was decent.

Did you give it 5 stars just so people would see it? If so I still would have seen it if you had given it 4 stars. I think that the only movie that should get 5 stars is "FIGHT CLUB". YEAH!!! But that's just my opinion:)
Optimus Prime said...
^Yeah. What he said.^
Bumble Bee said...
I'm with you Optimus. This Troy guy is right on the money. Adam, we have reconsidered our offer for you to be our ambassader to Earth. Troy, our people will call your people. You are just the type of guy to join our organization.
Troy said...
Thank you Bumble Bee for your kind words. I accept your offer and look forward to keeping "EVIL ADAM" and the "DECEPTACONS" under control. I will try my hardest to keep the deceptive reviews at bay. AUTOBOTS UNITE! (and the crowd goes) AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOYYYYYYYYYEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Paul said...