I did get around to seeing Juno this weekend. Juno follows the story of a high school girl, played by the Canadian actress Ellen Page, who is knocked up up her boyfriend, played by Arrested Development’s Michael Cera, and follows her pregnancy and decision of what to do with the baby. The trend these days certainly seems to be to turn the plight of pregnant single women into a comedic situation to be enjoyed by all, but with exception of portraying women as the pants-wearers and fun-spoilers, Juno actually didn’t have all that much in common with Knocked Up. As different as Knocked Up was, it still had a feel of a big production hit, with a long script that went through various rewrites and tried seemingly hard to give its stars equal screentime. Juno, on the other hand, resembles Little Miss Sunshine more in that the script is short, tidy, with each character almost effortlessly coming across in their roles. In fact, the script was written by a blogger and pole dancer, Diablo Cody, an unusual source but a one who merits the commendations she has received so far.
I thought the casting was really well done as well. Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight Schrute) makes an appearance, Cera has perfected the role of high school awkwardness, Jason Bateman plays a preppy dad to be (and surprisingly doesn’t share a single scene with Arrested Development co-star Cera), and Jennifer Gardner stars as his wife.
This was the coming out party for Ellen Page, who has the responsibility to portray a rather quirky character. The toughest part for me was to get accustomed to the offbeat Juno, who treats her situation right of the bat in a very unusual matter-of-fact manner. However, without giving anything away, she clearly becomes more attached to the baby and begins to realize the significance of its life and the relationships surrounding her as the film develops and she gets closer to its birth.
The soundtrack is unusual, with tracks by groups such as Sonic Youth, the Moldy Peaches, Belle and Sebastian, and The Velvet Underground, as well as songwriter Kimya Dawson and even a title performed by Ellen Page and Michael Cera themselves.
I had to rate the film as I left the theater, since they were conducting exit polling. Their paper punch system resembled the chaos of hanging chads, but I did my best. The only choices above a C grade was B or A+, which made it rather difficult to use their system, but I would definitely rank it high. Like Little Miss Sunshine, I think Juno is a film that is best seen in the theater with large groups of people – it’ll make sharing those subtle moments much sweeter.
So go see the film Juno, whether quirky Canadians or Michael Cera in short shorts are you thing, and enjoy.
Here is a trailer.