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Juno (2007)

July 1, 2010

VERDICT:
8/10 Home Skillets

It’s all about the quirky, and the quirky is awesome.

Juno is about a spunky Midwest High School teen who gets knocked up by her sorta boyfriend and instead of “taking care of it”, she decides to keep the bun in her oven, find a perfect little couple who can’t have kids of their own and give the tyke up for adoption.

So, this here is the third effort by director Jason Reitman, it’s also the third Oscar-nominated effort by Jason Reitman, and as far as batting averages are concerned, I’d say the dude’s more or less hitting dingers blindfolded at this point. I’ll wait for the day when he finally wins Best Pic/Director to truly gush over him, but, to put it briefly, this is just one more wonderful example of a guy who really knows a thing or two about getting the most out of fresh dialogue, character-driven scripts and mirroring the visual style with the tone of the story.

Yes, Reitman is no joke, but let’s not beat around the bush.

I’ve already gotten into my fair share of arguments/fist fights with nay-saying friends and drifters about Diablo Cody’s Oscar-winning debut script and, as tiring as it can get, I will continue to stand up for the gal until the pass out from the pain. Here’s the thing about the dialogue in Juno – no, no one really talks like this, that point I’ll concede. No one’s called something “wizard” when they thought it was cool since Piggy tried to speak up in Lord of the Flies and if someone told me they were “forshizz up the spout”, I’d probably respond with, “Sorry, but I can’t sell you any cocaine.” But then again, why so much hate? Folks, if more screenwriters had an ounce of the fun and originality going for them that Cody displays so gorgeously and effortlessly here, this would be a pretty one-note website, and I would be so so happy about it.

I don’t know, it just feels unfair to focus so much on the dialogue as a detractor when it ties in so heavily to how genuine, touching and flat-out enjoyable Cody’s script is as a whole. Not saying you have to like all the quirk-speak by any means, because I would probably hang up the phone if my friend answered the other line with “Yo yo yiggedy yo!”, but this is just coming from a guy who digs it very, very much in this manufactured world of quick-witted teens. After all, I don’t see anyone giving Anthony Burgess shit for inventing a language in A Clockwork Orange.

Anywho, Cody’s also fortunate enough to have a wonderful little cast to work their magic for her. And I gotta say, even though I still haven’t seen Marion Cotillard’s performance in La Vie en Rose, I was really pulling for Ellen Page to nab Best Actress. She’s been kicking ass like whoa since Hard Candy and she freakin’ nails it as Juno MacGuff (great name). Perfect casting choice, still think she should have won it, she made that character impossible to not fall in love with.

Whatever, I’m kinda done with the Oscars anyway. Keep it up, Ellen, you’re one of the best in the game right now.

Michael Cera is still doing the whole George-Michael shtick (not to be confused with the singer/songwriter), and that’s fine, Jason Bateman is still doing the whole Michael Bluth shtick, and that’s fine too, but it’s his dynamic with the surprisingly solid Jennifer Garner that ends up being the real standout quality of the duo. And, not surprisingly, J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney are great as Juno’s parents. Those two are teh bomb, they need to get their due.

Also really like the Moldy Peaches soundtrack, which is kinda strange because I’m not all that big a fan of their stuff when I hear it outside the movie. Nonetheless, I’m a total sucker for that last rendition of “Anyone Else But You” by Page and Cera. Bonus points to Reitman for making it work, I suppose.

Look, at least once a year, there’s that special movie you see in a packed theater, trusty girlfriend/boyfriend at your side, that gives you a new lease on life, makes you want want to start sending Christmas cards to strangers and makes you forget about all those abysmel movie-going experiences with the jackass parents who brought their crying baby to Rambo. In 2007, Juno was that movie and it absolutely earned all the praise, money and love it got.

It hasn’t quite had quite the same effect on me since and some of the magic is kinda gone as a result, but the first time I saw Juno in primo circumstances, it was an easy 9 and a top contender for Best of the Year. At the very least, it was hands-down the best time I had watching a movie that year, and that goes a long way.

And let me tell ya’, if it weren’t for Juno, Bristol Palin would have screwed her mom over big time. Not quite sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but it is totally true.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2010 12:15 am

    Yea, Juno was one of the few 2007 films I watched again and dragged other people to see. It was funny, sweet and quirky but also dramatic and emotional.

    And Ellen Page needs to be in more films. She’s fantastic in everything I’ve seen her in. She can do no wrong, even when the films she is in end up sucking.

    But back to Juno: I hate that indie soundtrack, so annoying. But that one song is perfect. Why couldn’t there have been more sweet songs like that and less indie kids being so damn indie. Dammit.

    • July 1, 2010 8:57 am

      Totally agree about Ellen Page expanding her resume, what a kickass actress.

      And as far as the soundtrack goes, I thought it fit pretty nicely with the general vibe and look of the movie even if the songs aren’t all that great to begin with. But yeah, that last song, awesome. Page sang it better than the original song if you ask me.

  2. July 1, 2010 12:42 am

    Enjoyed Juno and it was definitely worth watching. I’m sorry though I thought it was overrated.

  3. July 1, 2010 2:10 am

    Oh sure. Cody had fun and originality, and then she squandered every inch of it on JENNIFER’S BODY! That, in no way, detracts from the brilliance that this film is. Hopefully, she can get back on the wagon for her next project.

    • July 1, 2010 9:02 am

      Didn’t catch that one, have absolutely no desire to. Girl definitely needs to get back on the bandwagon.

  4. July 1, 2010 5:13 am

    I really enjoyed seeing Bateman and Cera reprieving their roles from Arrested Development. The film’s charms are the simple ones: quirks, plot, characters… nothing unnecessary whatsoever!

    This film will be the undoing of teenage dudes though after their girlfriend sees the “All babies deserve to be borned” bit and decide to keep it!!! Makes teen pregnancy look so cool!

    Snap on the score: http://paragraphfilmreviews.com/2009/07/13/juno/

    • July 1, 2010 9:01 am

      Man, Bateman and Cera just need to do the Arrested movie already. Currently making my way through the third season actually, and it is so effing awesome, still can’t believe that show got cancelled.

      And yeah, I think those teen boys are gonna be wrapping it up extra tight from here on out.

      • July 2, 2010 6:28 am

        There’s an awesome outtake where David Cross (Tobias) goes apeshit about the show being canned – but he does have a point. Season three’s probably the weakest, but is still light-years ahead of every other comedy show on the planet.

        I’ve been waiting for the movie to come out for years as they keep getting typecast… Hollywood, why must you tease us!?!? The production’s been on and off more than my fricking laptop.

      • July 2, 2010 9:17 am

        Yeah, I’m about halfway through the third season and it’s easily the weakest one, but like you said, still in a whole ‘nother league. Just needs more Mrs. Featherbottom.

        I remember seeing a quote from David Cross or someone saying that the movie wasn’t gonna happen because everyone’s so much older and doing their own thing now, but IMDB says otherwise and I just hope Cross is wrong, even though he was the best part of the show.

  5. July 1, 2010 5:27 am

    I liked it. Ellen Page is great. I didn’t have a problem with the dialogue in the film. Clueless was criticised for the same reasons and now much of the language has become part of teenage vocabulary. I think Cody’s script is smarter than some give it credit for.

    • July 1, 2010 8:59 am

      Very much agree about the script not getting it’s fair due from certain circles. Don’t think her lingo is gonna catch on the same was as “As if!” did, but hey, quality stuff all the same.

  6. July 1, 2010 4:12 pm

    Juno’s adorable, I don’t care what anyone says.

  7. July 1, 2010 4:29 pm

    Why in the hell was Arrested Development cancelled?!! It was one of the funniest TV shows in years! Cannot wait for the movie! Hell, I’ll even pay theatre price for that one! And Juno…good fun.

  8. July 1, 2010 6:31 pm

    Loved Juno, a refreshing movie with quick-witted, hilarious dialogue and solid performances from the entire cast. Best of all, it’s set in Minnesota! I do agree with you that this movie only works on the first watch. I never really felt the need to see it again and recently, I tried to watch it again but the magic was all but gone.

  9. Branden permalink
    July 2, 2010 1:22 am

    I love Juno. The dialogue did get on my nerves a little bit. I don’t hate it. I was like, “What the fuck are they talking about?”

    Have you seen “Away From Her”? Julie was amazing in that movie. It broke my heart. I thought she would win the Oscar.

    • July 2, 2010 9:05 am

      hahaha. never saw Away From Her and I forgot until I looked it up on IMDB that Julie Christie was even nominated. Thanks for the heads up though, will check it out.

  10. July 4, 2010 3:21 am

    I dug the flick, and though my one gripe was the dialogue, I’m glad to see you stepping up to the plate for it. Yes, I would much rather have Cody and her home skillets and all that come with them than some unoriginal piece of shit, so that’s a more than valid point.

    • July 6, 2010 9:02 am

      Same here, man. Might not be everyone’s thing, but at least it stands out.

  11. July 4, 2010 10:38 pm

    I hated Juno. It is ridiculously overrated. The script is fine, but it’s nothing special. Ellen Page was great and she makes the dialogue come alive, but the constant references to obscure movies and indie bands was so irritating. Tell a story, don’t prove to me how cool you are because you like Giallo horror movies and can recite Hole lyrics.

    • July 6, 2010 8:55 am

      Yeah, that gets old fast, particularly when she runs off her three favorite obscure bands and stills all pop up on the screen, but I could still overlook that stuff and write it off as charm. Nevertheless, I can completely understand how folks out there could write it off as annoying, too. Different strokes for different folks.

  12. Marc permalink
    July 6, 2010 11:35 am

    For a film that was completely self aware, I really enjoyed this. Falls off severly after the 2nd and third viewing but it’s funny and Page and Cera have pretty good chemistry…they have to right, I mean he knocked her up did he:P

    But if you like Page, stay away from the Tracey Fragments…total art house crap shoot…FAIL

  13. Natszie permalink
    September 26, 2010 6:48 pm

    Are You kidding me!The movie actuaally suckedd!
    It was veryy verryy depressingg!
    I just watche dit and went WOOOAAH tahts something im never watching again.
    And her parents reaction when they heard she was knocked up
    was pathetic !
    There should of been shouting atleast!
    That sort of reaction was the same as my parents when i forgot to clean the fiches tank.
    Face it:The movie is a failure.
    I would give it one star,and only because ellen page was a fantastic actress.

    • September 27, 2010 12:50 pm

      I kid you not! I was actually goooood!
      It was genuine, heartwarming and fuuuun!
      I just watche dit too and went WOOOAAH tahts something that I’d see again.
      And her parents reaction when they heard she was knocked up is exactly how you’d wish your own parents would react if you dropped something like that on them !
      Shouting would have thrown it all off since there’s no shouting in the movie to begin with!
      I hope your fiches are okay.
      Face it: This movie’s pretty sweet.
      I would give it four stars (out of five), and it doesn’t hurt that ellen page is a fantastic actress.

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