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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Juno


Juno
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Starring: Ellen Page ... Juno MacGuff

Michael Cera ... Paulie Bleeker

Jennifer Garner ... Vanessa Loring

Jason Bateman ... Mark Loring

Allison Janney ... Bren MacGuff

J.K. Simmons ... Mac MacGuff

Olivia Thirlby ... Leah
Eileen Pedde ... Gerta Rauss

Rainn Wilson ... Rollo

Daniel Clark ... Steve Rendazo

Synopsis: Juno (Ellen Page) is a Mid-Western highschooler, who decides one day, out of boredom or curiosity, to have sex with her friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), a member of her school's track team. She likes him well enough, but isn't hung up on him. This one time encounter results in Juno's pregnancy. She and her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) decide to take control of the situation by browsing for prospective adoptive parents in the local Pennysaver newspaper, and Juno settles on seemingly the perfect, affluent couple Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner) who is desperate to have a child. Junos sensitive father (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother (Allison Janney) are very supportive of her and help Juno with her decision to give the baby up for adoption. Juno and her father check out Mark and Vanessa Loring to see if they are the right couple. As time moves closer to having the baby, Juno grows more into a woman, yet she is still a teenager with all the same problems and a few more.

Review: Engaging, frequently hilarious teen comedy with a terrific script, a wonderful cast and a delightful central performance from rising star Ellen Page.

What's it all about?
Ellen Page stars as brainy 16-year-old Juno MacGuff, who gets pregnant the first time she has sex with fellow virgin Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Unable to go through with an abortion, Juno decides to give the baby up for adoption, so she finds childless couple Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) through the want ads.

However, as Juno spends more time with Mark and Vanessa, she realises that their marriage isn't quite as picture-perfect as it first appeared. Meanwhile, Juno's father (J.K. Simmons), stepmother (Allison Janney) and best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) offer as much help as they can.

The Good
Written by stripper-turned-blogger Diablo Cody, Juno crackles with razor-sharp dialogue throughout, to the point where every character talks like they're in the funniest sitcom ever made. In fact, the witty script contains so many hilarious lines that you'll find yourself stifling your laughter so as not to miss the next one.

Ellen Page is terrific as the sharp-witted Juno, creating a character who is destined to adorn the bedroom walls of teenage geeks everywhere, much as Thora Birch did with Ghost World. The supporting cast are wonderful too, particularly Michael Cera as the sweet-natured Bleeker and J.K. Simmons as her supportive father (Hey there, big puffy version of Junebug!), while Bateman and Garner both have superb moments.

The Great
Director Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking) sets the tone with a delightfully animated opening credits sequence and uses colourful production design throughout, as well as a great soundtrack. The film also manages to address the whole abortion vs adoption issue in a surprisingly mature way; the final scenes are surprisingly moving.

Worth seeing?
Juno is a genuinely hilarious teen comedy with delightful characters and a fabulous script. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll search HMV in vain for the soundtrack album afterwards. Highly recommended


*Review byMatthew Turner, ViewLondon.co.uk

 

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