“Actually, I try really hard.”
Rated PG-13. Directed by Jason Reitman, Written by Diablo Cody, Starring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman & Jennifer Garner.
The above quote, spoken by Michael Cera’s character, essentially sums up all of Juno for me — it’s a movie that tries really hard to be cool. From the way the dialogue is written to the manufactured Wes Anderson-like quirks that each character is granted to the random and frequent cutaways, Juno is practically screaming, “look at me! I’m so different and quirky and cool!”
For the most part, it works — Juno is often funny, entertaining throughout, with a few really touching moments. Ellen Page will most likely get an Oscar nomination out of her role as the title character, and she probably deserves it — she really does a great job of bringing Juno to life and makes her seem real despite some of the ridiculous dialogue. Cera is awesome, as always, and has pretty much mastered playing the sweet, awkward adolescent boy. The supporting cast is also strong, especially Olivia Thirlby as Juno’s best friend.
However, I couldn’t get into the story the whole way, and part of the problem is that Juno is a pretty obnoxious character — she’s the type of character that people love in movies because she’s so independent and funny and says whatever she wants, but if you met her in real life, you’d want to smack her.
Secondly, while I have no problem with quirky dialogue (see: Brick), it needs to be consistent, and while it was heavy in the first few scenes (especially the opening scene with Rainn Wilson aka Dwight Schrute) it disappeared as the movie went on. The tone was also somewhat inconsistent, there were a couple of scenes that didn’t really belong (the ultrasound scene, amongst others) — and I didn’t like the way the Jason Bateman sub-plot played out.
Also, the way the movie dealt with the abortion issue also rubbed me the wrong way, and I’m not entirely sure why. I realize that there’d be no point to the movie if Juno actually got an abortion, and that it was an issue that needed addressing, but the way the movie kind of cops out and dances around the issue was pretty lame. And I mean, teen pregnancy sucks, and I know the movie is a light-hearted, fun, romantic comedy, but it totally sugarcoats the whole thing, an issue that may be unavoidable in a comedy about a pregnant teenager.
But mostly, Juno is an entertaining, well-made date movie. I wouldn’t go see it with a group of guys, but it beats the hell of taking your girlfriend to some shitty romantic comedy like P.S. I Love You*. And come on, any movie with two members of the Bluth family can’t be bad, can it?
*I did not actually do this, I am just making the safe assumption that this statement is true.