Monday, 4 February 2008

Juno - Dir. Jason Reitman (2008)

Jason Reitman's follow-up to 'Thank You For Smoking' is an intelligent, heart-warming, wingnut of a comedy that makes you appreciate the in-your-face and intimate cinematic occasion it lays before you.

Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) finds that boredom only leads to one avenue; sex. And when she ends up pregnant, with the father being close-friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), she must dig deep within herself to not only mature over-night, but find adoptive parents for her soon to-be-delivered baby. Following Juno through various stumbling block's in her rocky road of mother-hood, one which see's Juno decide whether or not to get an abortion while her school-friend Su-Chin pickets the clinic outside ("All babies deserve to be borned" she shouts as a one woman army), is awkwardly satisfying and ultimately funny for the on-edge viewer.

Ellen Page is a revelation as the book-smart, quick-tongued teenager facing adversity in the face with her impending pregnancy, and gives a performance that will either have you spilling your guts with laughter, or filling the aisles with tears - or even both. While Michael Cera (Paulie), J.K. Simmons (Mac MacGuff), Olivia Thirlby (Leah) and Jason Bateman (Mark Loring) provide adequate emotional back-up, making you genuinely feel in the heart of all their relationship's with Juno, especially Cera and Simmons. The only weak link, in a very strong chain is Jennifer Gardner as Vanessa Loring, who you never engage with her character till the penultimate scene of the film, when it's too late anyway.

One aspect which contributes drastically to Juno's success, and would be a cardinal sin to overlook, is debutant screenwriter Diablo Cody's script, which is full from the beginning to the end with engaging, entertaining and down-right witty dialogue. She creates Juno, a pretentious, naive teenager who over-time matures into an exciting and nurtured human being, while keeping her traits which we at the same time keeping the hilarious and charming moments ticking over. Despite a conventional ending which follows the genre like salt on chips, it's the chunky and delightful middle that keeps the film running and the audience happy.

Hilarious. Heart-warming. Enjoyable. Engaging. Cute. Interesting. Hip. You'll leave the cinema when it ends with a smile from ear-to-ear knowing you've just seen something special (and it wasn't the attractive young eighteen-year old girl bending down in-front). Now where did I leave my Hamburger phone...?