Sunday, 10 February 2008
16-year old Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) has a jaunty walk. She looks like a tough Little Red Riding Hood – jeans, sneakers, red lips, black hair. Swigging orange juice from a huge bottle, she saunters to the local store. Actually, she’s filling her bladder to take yet another pregnancy test. The results are a major bummer. One bout of sex with her dorky best friend Bleeker (Michael Cera) and now this. Forgoing a ‘smashbortion’, the unconventional Juno decides to go through with the pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption to a ‘perfect’ couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman). Of course things don’t go exactly to plan.
This smart, sweet comedy from director Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking) and stripper-turned-scriptwriter Diablo Cody has already proven itself a critical and commercial success. The reasons are clear. The dialogue is whip-smart, packed with pop culture references and hilariously vulgar at times. Yet these small-town American characters are people you’d actually like to hang out with. Especially Juno. The hugely talented Page (Hard Candy) gives us a clever, wise-cracking teen who’s still soft and innocent enough to be confused by first love.
(This review first appeared in The Big Issue, 28 Jan)