Saturday, January 12, 2008

Movie Review: Juno

Michael Cera is the Victor Garber of Generation Y. Every facial tic, every blink, every posture is natural and yet perfectly modulated to communicate the subtleties of his character's emotions. Am I coming on too strong? I love this kid, and I think he's great actor. You don't need any other reason to go see Juno besides the fact that Michael Cera is in it.

However, there are plenty of other good reasons to see it. It's well-written and well-acted, for one and two. Ellen Page plays the eponymous Juno, who is not lovable in a sweet and cuddly kind of way, but her character kind of grows on you.

Sixteen-year-old Juno talks (on a hamburger phone) like a Woody Allen character, her conversation salted with sarcasm and snark. She's world weary and naive at the same time. Her pale would-be boyfriend, Paulie, runs track and consumes orange tic-tacs. In a few years he'll be husband material--reliable, gentle, and devoted; he's definitely not boyfriend material, especially to a precocious teenager who typically has a hard time seeing past Paulie's skinny legs and concave chest.

Out of boredom, or curiosity, and possibly a tiny bit of lust (but maybe not--she seems kind of ambivalent) Juno gives Paulie the adolescent wet dream of a gift: they lose their virginity together in an overstuffed chair that later, in a scene I don't really understand, ends up in Paulie's front yard.

Juno gets pregnant and spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out what to do, whom to trust, and whether or not any adults ever get their shit together. Is there a good solution? Juno, predictably, considers abortion, but her classmate's caricature picketing and a nonchalant, gum-popping desk clerk abet the cause of life. When she finds the perfect couple to adopt her baby, she's hopeful; but beautiful Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) turns out to be more than a tiny bit desperate, and her husband Mark (Jason Bateman), immature and disillusioned.

I laughed (a lot), I cried (a little, but then again, I cry at DeBeers commercials and M*A*S*H reruns, so don't give that a lot of weight). I loved the tight, clever banter. My friend MD observed that the characters, especially Juno, didn't talk like real people, and she's right, of course. But we would talk like that if we could. Instead, in real life we snap our fingers and say, "Rats! I wish I'd thought to say that at the time!"
(Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox.)


vroth said...

I loved this movie! I, too would recommend it! Vanessa

ladychgo said...

I'll watch it with you anytime Mrs. Peevie. It was indeed a great movie.

Do I know MD? :wink:

patrick said...

i was under the impression that Juno was directed by the same guy who directed Knocked Up because it's about an unexpected pregnancy, plus Michael Cera stars as Juno's boyfriend (he was one of the goofy kids from Superbad, a close relative of Knocked Up), but it turns out this is not the case