Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Movie Review: "Juno" (2007)

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Year Nominated: 2008
Director: Jason Reitman
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Did It Win?: No.

After having sex with her best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), 16 year old Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) winds up pregnant. Unsure what to do, she decides to give the baby up for adoption to a seemingly ideal childless couple, Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark Loring (Jason Bateman).

Directed by Jason Reitman, "Juno" is a quirky indie comedy with a sprinkling of serious drama about a rather unique teenage girl whose life is turned asunder when she finds out she is pregnant. The film earned multiple Academy Award nominations in the late 2000's, including a nod for Best Picture and a win for best original screenplay for writer Diablo Cody. Watching the movie again after many, many years, we can see why this film won a screenplay award because it is filled with sharp dialogue, bright, witty humor, and eccentric, now iconic, zany lingo. Many people are turned off by movies that are considered "indie films," but if a movie gets nominated for Best Picture, is it still considered indie? Food for thought.

Ellen Page stars as the titular Juno MacGuff, and she is excellent in her role. She plays this part as if it were written specifically for her. Juno is a great character, a teenage girl who marches to the beat of her own drum. She's constantly quick with a snarky quip or retort at any given time. She keeps her friends close, acts mature for her age, but is also still just a kid in school. Page brings Juno to life in one of the best performances of the decade. There is also a great supporting cast, including J.K. Simmons as Juno's supportive yet disappointed father Mac. He is fabulous here, of course, but let's be honest, when is Simmons anything other than amazing? Simmons gets a chance to flex his comedic chops a little bit as he and Juno share some witty banter a couple of times. Allison Janney is fierce as Juno's step-mom Bren who, despite butting heads with Juno, is there for her every step of the way and will verbally slap the bitch that messes with her step-daughter. Michael Cera plays Juno's best friend and baby daddy Paulie, who plays his role as the awkward Michael Cera typecast: the lanky, gangling, socially awkward, orange TicTac-loving, headband-wearing track runner. Another actor playing to type is Jason Bateman, who is meant to be the adopted father to Juno's baby. He appears outwardly straight-laced, but has a bit of a self-centered jerk undercoating and might not be all he appears to be. Last but not least is Jennifer Garner as the adopted mother-to-be Vanessa, who seems cavity-indusingly sweet and is desperate to be a mom. All of these unique, spectacularly created characters come together to create this simple yet wonderful, unconventional, smart comedy that makes us laugh out loud throughout the whole entire thing.

Despite being an offbeat comedy, there are many moments of sincerity and tenderness that come off so honest, so brutal, and so touching that we can't help but be emotionally gripped by this film. As we mentioned, this wasn't our first time seeing "Juno," but this time, we won't wait so long before watching it again. It has been about nine years since it was first released, and seeing it again made us remember how truly great this film is.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "To Kill A Mockingbird"

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