Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is sixteen and ultra cool. She lives at home with her father (J.K. Simmons) and her stepmother (Allison Janney) but has her own code of rules and behaviour. After having sex with the virginal Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), she is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Together with her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby), Juno decides against abortion and opts to find a well-to-do couple who would like to adopt. They find Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and decide they would be perfect parents. Juno strikes up a relationship with both Mark and Vanessa but things don't go according to plan.
Review by Louise Keller:
It's disarmingly fresh, frank and funny, this story about young love, being knocked up, and the unexpected direction the unplanned pregnancy takes. Jason Reitman's follow-up to Thank You For Smoking has a wry, sardonic flavour liberally dosed with mischief. How else could you describe a film that talks about pregnancy as a 'doodle that can't be undone' and whose central character rings an abortion clinic that dishes out blueberry condom 'to make his jug smell like pie', from a phone that looks like a hamburger. Twenty year old Ellen Page is a knock-out in the title role as a pragmatic teen who speaks her mind, making big decisions as her girth gets bigger.
I really don't know what kind of girl I am, Page's Juno retorts to her father Mac (J.K. Simmons) to his obvious question. The story starts and ends with a chair, but there is much in between. Written by first time screenwriter Diablo Cody, whose screenplay is as wonderful as her name, the characters are outspoken, surprising and paradoxical. Juno is the epitome of cool, yet she is smitten by nerdie Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), who spends most of the film wearing saggy, baggy canary yellow running shorts and a matching terry-towelling headband. But Cody's script is clever. We are not judgemental about Juno's choice; we accept it. When she finds the beautiful yuppie couple's photo in the paper (next to the exotic birds), pleading their case for adoption, she has made up her mind.
It is not what happens, but how it happens, that makes Juno such fresh fare. There is nothing logical or predictable about the relationship Juno establishes with the would-be parents Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark (Jason Bateman). Or her relationship with her once-only lover, her friends and family. All the performances are nicely honed. There's J.K. Simmons as Juno's no-nonsense father; Alison Janney as his outspoken wife; Bateman as the tv jingle composer who has never grown up and Garner as Vanessa who is desperate to become a mother. Cera's Paulie is a study of restraint, making him Napoleon Dynamite-ish and very sweet indeed. The film is packed with one-liners, but they are never simply for effect. As the four seasons come to a close, we have experienced a multitude of emotions, and have laughed, sniggered, wiped away a tear and warmed to the weird and wonderful journey of life.
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CAST: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Thirlby
PRODUCER: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russell Smith
DIRECTOR: Jason Reitman
SCRIPT: Diablo Cody
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eric Steelberg
EDITOR: Dana E. Glauberman
MUSIC: Matt Messina
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Steve Saklad
RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 17, 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.