Monday, December 17, 2007

Juno- Gen Z goddess

A funny movie about teen pregnancy? Yep, that's exactly what Juno is, plus it's got lots of heart and brains too. Not a lot of comedies can say that nowadays.

Ellen Page does a great job as the title character, a whip-smart/smart-ass high school teen who's been knocked up and now has to decide what to do with the baby. Not only does she have the tween language down pat but she delivers it in such a rapid-fire and hilarious way that sometimes you don't always catch her little digs, slang and references (this demands repeated watching obviously on video when it comes out).

Also in the cast are a bunch of actors from Fox TV's cult hit (now canceled of course) Arrested Development, including Jason Bateman and Michael Cera (also from Superbad, playing Juno's baby-daddy and would-be boyfriend). Bateman and Jennifer Garner ("Alias") play the perspective adoptive parents who Juno decides will take her baby when it's born and which she has mixed feelings about throughout the movie. Bateman is an ex-rocker who opened for the Melvins and now writes music for commercials while Garner is prim, proper and dying to be a mother. To the movie's credit, the former actually turns out to be a creep while the later is the more soulful one in the end. Also notable is J.K. Simmons as Juno's firm but supportive dad (also seen as Peter Parker's boss in the blockbuster Spiderman movies).

And for a music nut, there's also lots to love about the movie. The Stooges, Patti Smith and the Runaways are Juno's favorite bands (which is admirable and strange for a millennium teen) but she disses Diana Ross (powerful but evil like Juno's mythological namesake) and Sonic Youth ("it's just noise!" she complains to Bateman's character, who's a fan). Most of all, you get a batch of folkie Kimya Dawson's beautiful songs through the movie that set the right mood for this cute, funny movie, which is definitely one of the best ones I've seen in '07.


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