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Juno (2007)
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Review Date: February 22, 2008
Director: Jason Reitman
Writer: Diablo Cody
Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russell Smith
Actors:
Ellen Page as Juno
Michael Cera as Paulie
Jennifer Garner as Vanessa
Plot:
Juno is a 16-year old highschooler who just got pregnant, but doesn’t think she is mature enough to handle the baby, and so decides to find a cool couple to adopt the baby from her. The film essentially delves into the trials and tribulations of a controlled young pregnant girl, her best friend, her family and the possible future adoptive parents of her child. Comedy that I apparently didn’t “get”…ensues.
Critique:
I hate to be that jerk who goes against the trend particularly when it comes to “feel good” movies that most everyone and their aunt seem to be raving about, but honestly folks…I don’t get the “grand appeal” of this film! I really loved director Jason Reitman’s previous comedy, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, and enjoyed a handful of aspects in this film as well, particularly its pacing, its cutesy soundtrack, many of the actors and even the storyline, which at the very least, was different from most “teen comedies” hitting the big screen these days. But once the film was said and done, I really didn’t feel all that close to anyone (other than the great Jason Bateman) and certainly didn’t get swept into this “indie sensation” as I did with LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE last year. Maybe this is more of a “chick flick”, I don’t know. I do know that I didn’t like the lead character all too much, with her condescending and smart-alecky comments, and her fast-talking “extremely mature for her age” dialogue. Straight up, man…how many 16-year old girls today know anything about “The Stooges” or rock ‘n roll from the late 70s? This girl was quoting things most people in my generation haven’t even heard of…but someone born in 1992 apparently has smart-ass remarks about Soupy Sales and Franklin Roosevelt ready to go in her back-pocket?? Give me a break.

Most of her dialogue also felt very “written” as in films like HEATHERS, but that type of wording works in a “fantasy” movie in which co-eds are getting killed and such, but this picture was based in reality, so there are only so many of these exchanges (Friend: “So what's the prognosis, Fertile Myrtle? Minus or plus?” Juno: “I don't know. It's not seasoned yet. I'll take some of these. Nope...there it is. The little pink plus sign is so unholy.” Friend: “That ain't no Etch-A-Sketch. This is one doodle that can't be un-did, Homeskillet.”) that one can take before you say to yourself: “You know what…today’s kids just don’t talk this way!!” No surprise, the film’s screenwriter is a 30-year old woman, seemingly trying to write like a 16-year old. Aaaaaaaah! Dialogue issues aside though, I never really got emotionally involved in this film either, seeing as I wasn’t really into the lead character, who despite starting off pretty harsh, did “soften up” a little by the end of the movie (thank God!). I did enjoy the Bateman/Jennifer Garner storyline though (this storyline felt more real) as well as Juno’s rapport with her pops (played by the awesome J.K. Simmons), but unfortunately the film focuses on Juno, who unlike Max Fischer in RUSHMORE, just seemed a little too mature for her age, but more importantly…unrealistic and somewhat annoying.

Also, this was supposed to be a comedy, right? Well, I generally laugh when I watch a comedy and even though I might’ve smirked at a couple of “clever lines” in this film, nothing really made me laugh during its entire 90-minute runtime, so that certainly wasn’t the film’s strong point either, in my opinion. So there you have it, boys and gals, a somewhat negative review of a movie that has now even been nominated for “Best Picture” at this year’s Oscars (will wonders ever cease?). Wow. That said, the film certainly deserves a watch on video, and I’m sure that if you’re like many people out there, who knows…you might fall in love with the movie yourself. I thought it moved at a nice pace, had some interesting points of view on teen pregnancy (although even then, nothing too deep) and definitely featured some solid performances, along with a groovy soundtrack, but ultimately the lead character just didn’t click for me, while her dialogue and unemotional way of being, turned me off that much more. Yes, I’ll say it: this film is overrated. “Honest to blog”??
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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