Don’t miss the outrageously offbeat comedy hit that has everyone talking – and laughing! Explore the outrageous “Junoverse” of the year’s most talked-about comedy with this 2-Disc Special Edition of Juno – bulging with awesome special features to deliver hours of laughs and tons of feel-good fun! Juno MacGuff is a cool, confident teenager who takes a nine-month detour into adulthood when she’s faced with an unplanned pregnancy – and sets out to find the perfect parents for her baby. With the help of her timid boyfriend, supportive dad and no-nonsense stepmom, Juno sets her sights on an affluent couple longing to adopt their first child.
In Juno, director Jason Reitman has taken all that often goes wrong with coming-of-age films and made it right. Beyond all the hormones, indie-rock, and quick slang, is a film that is able to find something beautiful and highly perceptive without forgetting the comedy. By taking a frank, straightforward approach to a relatively serious subject, Juno proves to be refreshingly smart and insightful while never falling into the inane adolescent humor or heavy-handed emotions that so often impair other teen films.
Where Juno ultimately finds its success is by being subtle and realistic. Blue slushies, beat-up minivans, second-hand furniture and divorced families abound throughout the film. None of the character’s lives are perfect, and yet no issue becomes overly problematic either. The jokes (and the drama) are never forced but rather the realities of middle class, suburban life provide them naturally. Accompanied by the excellent slang heavy and culturally attuned script of Diablo Cody; life as a confused, suburban teen amidst such an environment is flawlessly displayed. Whether tackling issues of sex, love or the dysfunctions of family, Cody does it with ease and wit while never leaving anything out for the sake of decency or to force a point. This honest approach that respects the viewers intelligence coupled with a keen awareness to the dynamics and everyday dialect of teenage life is a key element in the film’s ability to be funny, dramatic, and even easily relatable.
However, the most refreshing aspect of the film is the strength of Ellen Page’s portrayal of the character Juno. Perhaps with a slight nod to the female characters found in the films of John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink), Juno is an independent girl who is witty and also unabashedly complex. Page’s outstanding performance helps bring out these intricacies that prove to be a crucial aspect that helps keep the story from any potential lulls. The strength of her performance is most clearly displayed in scenes involving male counterpart Michael Cera. Their interactions are subtly potent and display the uneasiness of expressing teen emotions while dealing with issues that they struggle to manage. The end results perfectly find a balance between the comedic and the highly emotional that can only be attributed to their strong portrayals.
As the credits roll, it becomes apparent that Juno will come to define our generation of teenagers and twenty-somethings just as films such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off did for the 80’s or (maybe to a lesser extent) what Clueless and Can’t Hardly Wait did for the 90’s. However, unlike those films Juno is not just a quirky, teen movie that accurately displays a specific time-period. It is also a film that includes thematic elements that go beyond the context of the story and can be commonly appreciated and applicable to all generations of viewers. The clothing style, the music and pop culture references are all there; but even when all those things go out of date don’t be surprised if Juno still remains a favorite.
Review by Saxon Baird