Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Juno Review

As appears in today's issue of the New School Free Press.

Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner
Director: Jason Reitman

There's a song by the Velvet Underground that goes, "I'm sticking with you/'Cause I'm made out of glue/Anything that you might do/I'm gonna do too." It's played in the middle of Juno, and is the perfect fit because it details the kind of innocent and pure love that makes the movie so much fun.

The film—which details Juno (Page) getting pregnant with her maybe-boyfriend, Paulie (Cera), and deciding to give the baby to a seemingly-perfect couple played by Bateman and Garner—could have easily been full of clich├ęs (Where the Heart Is anyone?), but first-time writer Diablo Cody knows how to navigate her way around a screenplay.

The first five minutes of the movie take getting used to because you must first get accustomed to Page's diction. She's full of lines like, "You should've gone to China, you know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events."

Once Juno and her father, played by Peter Parker's boss from Spiderman, decide to give the baby to Vanessa (Garner) and Mark (Bateman), Juno keeps going to their house when Vanessa is gone because of how much she and Mark have in common. Those similarities are in gory movies and the Stooges, though—not exactly ABC Family material.

Juno begins heading over to the house daily, not seeing how weird it is for her to be friends with the baby's "father." It becomes even weirder when she realizes that Mark and Vanessa have marriage problems, and that he has the hots for her.

For all fans of Arrested Development, you might be disappointed to know that Michael Cera and Jason Bateman don't share a scene together. But while Bateman isn't quite Michael Bluth, Michael Cera still retains much of what made George Michael Bluth so great.

Page and Cera are fantastic together, and Cody's dialogue for them sounds ridiculous when read off of IMDb, but really works in the movie.

The final scene of the movie, in which Cera and Page are both playing guitars and singing to one another, is the perfect ending to the perfect beginning of Cody's career—one that's worth following.