Somewhere between the sharp satire of Election and the rich human comedy of You Can Count On Me lies Juno, a sardonic but ultimately compassionate story of a pregnant teenage girl who wants to give her baby up for adoption... more ». Social misfit Juno (Ellen Page, Hard Candy, X-Men: The Last Stand) protects herself with a caustic wit, but when she gets pregnant by her friend Paulie (Michael Cera, Superbad), Juno finds herself unwilling to terminate the pregnancy. When she chooses a couple who place a classified ad looking to adopt, Juno gets drawn further into their lives than she anticipated. But Juno is much more than its plot; the stylized dialogue (by screenwriter Diablo Cody) seems forced at first, but soon creates a richly textured world, greatly aided by superb performances by Page, Cera, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as the prospective parents, and J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man) and Allison Janney as Juno's father and stepmother. Director Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking) deftly keeps the movie from slipping into easy, shallow sarcasm or foundering in sentimentality. The result is smarter and funnier than you might expect from the subject matter, and warmer and more touching than you might expect from the cocky attitude. Page's performance is deceptively simple; she never asks the audience to love her, yet she effortlessly carries a movie in which she's in almost every scene. That's star power. --Bret Fetzer« less
A Complex Tale Told with Humor, Tenderness, and Simplicity
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Teenage pregnancy is frequently a starting point for myriad philosophical arguments: some see it as a major problem, some see it as an argument for the need of early teaching of contraceptive technique and sex education, some see it as a reason for championing abortion, and some see it as a piece of life that confronts families in both positive and negative ways. JUNO is a beautifully written (Diablo Cody) and directed (Jason Reitman) version of unplanned pregnancy offered by a splendid ensemble cast: it is a movie that could modify the sociologic outlook of many people in a very strong fashion.
Juno (Ellen Page) is sixteen and talks her best friend Bleek (Michael Cera) into having sex: the result is a surprise pregnancy that Juno shares with her girlfriend Leah (Olivia Thirley) and the store clerk Rollo (Rainn Wilson) even before informing Bleek, a likable kid who seems fairly flat about the situation. After discarding abortion as a viable solution, Juno informs her father (JK Simmons) and stepmother (Allison Janney) of her status, and tells them she is going to complete the pregnancy and give the baby to some loving and needy barren couple. Her parents are at first flustered by the news, but quickly become supportive in a way that tells us many things about the durability of successful families. With Leah's help, Juno answers an ad for 'wanted: baby' in PennySaver and visits the Lorings (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) who desperately want a child and embrace Juno's gesture of adoption with eager excitement. The remainder of the film follows Juno as her abdomen increases in girth, finding new respect for her parents and for Bleek, and inadvertently walking in the troubled waters of the Loring's marital discord. Without giving the story away, the ending is so tender and free of cliché that it allows us, the audience, to appreciate all the vigor and sensitivity and humor and warmth of Juno - an example of developing maturity that is a fresh breeze compared to the usual teenage movies.
Ellen Page does indeed deliver a pitch perfect performance, but her co-stars are equally fine: Simmons and Janney break away from their usual type cast roles brilliantly, and the other members of the cast (the entire cast) flesh out this well written story with great skill. The mixture of animated graphics and the imaginative musical score enhance the flavor of the tale. JUNO offers an unbiased look at the topic of teenage pregnancy and wins on every level. Grady Harp, April 08"
Two-Disc Special Edition Chock Full o' Extras!
Cubist | United States | 04/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Juno was Little Miss Sunshine of 2007 - the little independent film that could. Once the studio realized that it had a successful crowd-pleaser on its hands, the film was promoted from the art-house circuit to the multiplexes. Actress Ellen Page and first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody became the film's breakout stars garnering the lion's share of critical raves and awards with Page getting an Independent Spirit Award and Cody an Academy Award. Now that all of the dust has settled, Juno can be reassessed to see if it really has the staying power and substance to cut through all of the hype and stand-up to the inevitable backlash.
There is an audio commentary by director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody. The first thing that you notice when listening to Cody talking is how well Ellen Page mimicked her way of speaking. Reitman tends to dominate the track and, not surprisingly, talks about filmmaking aspects like the casting of minor roles, the attention to details for the sets, how he shot certain scenes, and so on. This is pretty decent track filled with lots of anecdotal stories and production details.
Also included are 11 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Reitman and Cody. We meet Juno's crazy next-door neighbour. There's also a different introduction to Juno's family. We see Mark and Vanessa's first attempt to adopt. There's also an amusing bit where Juno has a solo gig and sings a song about getting pregnant. These are all good scenes and Reitman explains why there were cut.
There is the obligatory "Gag Reel," a hilarious collection of blown lines and goofs with Bateman making Page break character time and time again.
The "Gag Take" is an odd scene where Rainn Wilson and Reitman get into it with a mock heated argument.
"Cast and Crew Jam" features the cast and crew members rockin' out to a song in this mock music video.
There are "Screen Tests" for Ellen Page and Michael Cera. In the scene they do together you already see them in character and displaying excellent chemistry. There is also a test with Page and Olivia Thirlby and one with Page and J.K. Simmons as well.
"Way Beyond `Our' Maturity Level" takes a look at the characters of Bleeker, Juno and her best friend Leah with interviews with the actors that inhabit them. Diablo Cody talks about how they are based on people in her life.
"Diablo Cody is Totally Boss" is a profile of this novice screenwriter who got her start writing a blog and got noticed by a film producer. Reitman recalls his initial impressions of the script and the cast gush about its "unique voice."
"Jason Reitman for Shizz" takes a look at the director. The producers gush about how he was the right fit for the material. He talks about establishing the right tone and how he shared the same vision for the film as Cody.
"Honest to Blog!: Creating Juno" features Cody and Reitman talking about how the film came together. She credits her stylized dialogue to spending lots of time on the Internet. Cody also talks about how she came up with the idea for the story. They talk about specific scenes and her knack for depicting an unconventional family."
Juno? No, I Most Certainly Don't.
El Lagarto | Sandown, NH | 04/21/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Film focus groups, an abomination, have been around a long time. This is where creative integrity is swapped out for box office bank-ability, assuming there was any there to begin with. Various different endings and permutations of all types are tried out on a small handful of people in the dark. Then, movies are trimmed and tailored to suit their tastes. (Originality stands little chance.) Well, apparently there are now Sundance focus groups. How else could one explain the popularity of Juno, a movie whose sole purpose in life seems to be pleasing the smug, self-consciously hip judges at that increasingly less independent film festival.
In this case affixing blame is easy, it belongs in its entirety to Diablo Cody who wrote the screenplay. In the history of film has there ever been a character as improbable as Juno MacGuff? Has there ever been a story more stupid, or confused about what it wants to say? Juno begins as a surly, edgy, dark outcast and ends up just shy of the yearbook committee. Her glib, sarcastic persona must have seemed delicious to those cool cats at Sundance, but the way adults buy into her dismissive attitude is preposterous. Only the ultrasound technician, (Kaaren de Ziva), speaks to her and her ilk as they should be addressed, irresponsible and vulgar children. The inevitable 3rd act reconciliations, emotional growth spurts, and newfound harmonies are beyond hokey and facile, and as for Paulie, the boyfriend she now loves, I have encountered loaves of Wonderbread with more personality. We are supposed to buy that she has anything in common with him?
Director Jason Reitman and a wonderful cast are to be heartily congratulated for transforming this three-legged duckbilled platypus into something resembling a movie. Ellen Page really is remarkable as Juno; she takes a character more ludicrous than Batman and makes her seem real. Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons, two reliable veterans, are extremely good as mom and dad. Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman are just acceptable as the prospective adopters. I don't know if Michael Cera, Paulie, is good or not. If he was intended to be completely vapid, uninteresting, and unattractive, then perhaps he's good.
If you have any doubts about how bad this movie actually is, watch Little Miss Sunshine again. Both films want to hit the same marks, Sunshine hits them, Juno self-consciously attempts to hit them. It's like watching a couple dance; except they're following the footprints in an Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Speaking of which, beware of the score featuring songs by Kimya Dawson. Never has so much precious, pretentious, cutesy-poo teenage angst been packed into such a short amount of time - unbearable."
Wondering what "...with digital copy" means?
Julie Neal | Sanibel Island, Fla. | 03/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It means the bonus disc includes a digital copy of the film that can be automatically downloaded to a laptop or iPod. Seems obvious after you know it, huh? The second disc also includes some extra bonus features not on the single-disc DVD -- four featurettes titled "Way Beyond 'Our' Maturity Level: Juno - Leah - Bleeker," "Diablo Cody Is Totally Boss," "Jason Reitman For Shizz" and "Honest To Blog! Creating Juno.""
Sunny Delight vs Juno
Roberta Hotard | Somewhere here, Florida | 04/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Juno a teen who becomes pregnant by her friend and decides to give up the baby for adoption to a lovely couple or does she change her mind. I reccomend all teens to see this, not to get the idea to just go out and have sex to so call (get a baby) but let the teen see what Juno has to go through on her own being pregnant without the baby's father having anything to do with her or the child. It happens all the time in the world we live in. Being puzzled about how it was going to end....Well I wont give the ending away you just need to view it for yourself. This movie is a serious subject, but has humor by Juno. I was happy to have purchased this myself. Ellen Page (Juno) a rising actress. Through friendship and pregnancy, there is a bond of LOVE forever."