Friday, December 14, 2007

DNfromMN -- Movie Review -- JUNO


Release Date December 14, 2007 (already open NY/LA).

Pretty much everyone has seen the previews for this, so here’s the quick summary:
Midwestern teenage girl gets pregnant by dorky high schooler, decides to give baby to a happily married couple, hijinks ensue.

This movie is almost too clever for its own good. The screening I went to, I ran into a few people I knew, and two of them didn’t like it because it almost seemed to be trying too hard. I got into the rhythm of it, and could understand the dislike, but if you catch the beat (so to speak), you’ll ride it. And that’s the hook of this movie, and why it caught on so quickly – there are so many coined terms, and hipness to the dialogue that you’ll laugh (most of the time, I really hope “honest to blog” doesn’t catch on). There’s plenty written about Diablo Cody (the now Golden Globe nominated screenwriter), that I won’t go into, but I will direct you to her interview with David Letterman promoting her book about being a Midwestern stripper where she cracked him up.

But that’s just the surface. What’s underneath all that glossy language stuff, is a really sweet story about a sorta real family. I’m probably going to catch some grief for this, but I think Allison Janney’s stepmother is one of the most perfectly realized characterizations of a stepmom – she loves this kid, but there’s this disconnect that it’s not her genes and she isn’t responsible for everything that happens to Juno. Dad’s an HVAC repair guy, and it’s this great middle to low-middle class dynamic that you don’t see used well or appropriately (meaning, it’s normally a punchline for white trash jokes). Darling boyfriend considered Ellen Page (as Juno) to be a young Janeane Garafolo, and I agree. When trying to place how Michael Cera and Juno’s interactions, I was reminded of a very young Bill Murray – low key, smart alecky, but with a good heart, but not as sure of himself.

That said, it does feel more like a mid-summer comedy like Wedding Crashers or Knocked Up than an Oscar-season movie. I think the fact that it does have that beating pulsing dynamics and great acting that it’s getting/will get awards. I saw this about 3 weeks ago, but there haven’t been a lot of promo screenings for anything else lately (I missed out on I am Legend, sorry!), and I need to ration these out.

It’s a memorable movie, and I enjoyed it a lot, and I think that almost everyone who sees it will enjoy it, but the only reason to see it on the big screen is to get in on all the jokes that people will be chuckling about for the next few months. That’s the only reason why I would urge someone to see it now rather than wait for video. I think it might actually play better on DVD, so you can rewind it and catch the jokes you missed while laughing.

What it’s worth: on the scale of $0 (I’d rather watch bowling on a rainy Saturday afternoon) to $18 (theater + popcorn + soda), I give it an $8.50. You won’t feel you wasted your money seeing it in the theater, but you can wait for DVD and blow a bag of microwave popcorn on it.


GammaGirl said...

This may be pointless, but does anyone know where I can find the distribution schedule for "Juno?"

I can't find any info anywhere...

DNfromMN said...

gamma: there are still free screenings through Christmas. Link here:

Release Schedule is here:

moxie said...

I'm looking forward to seeing this movie even though I suspect I might be one of those people who think it's trying too hard. I've been reading Cody's blog since her stripping days (before the book) so I definitely grok her sense of humor. I'm not sure how I'll feel about teenagers saying her lines though, I'm not a big fan of the snarky smart-ass teen genre and Ellen Page's delivery in the clips I've seen is dry and sarcastic, which just isn't attractive coming from a teen girl (or boy). Grow up a bit, then you can be a bitter jaded adult like the rest of us. But I keep saying comments like "you'll fall in love with Juno" (the character), so maybe I'm mistaken.

DNfromMN said...

moxie, the character is a jaded angst-ridden teen. She has a soft side that you see her play out with Michael Cera and Jennifer Garner (who.. I overlooked in the review, whoops. :), but for 80% of the movie, she's as snarky as Ent gets.

Kara said...

I'm going to see it.
I love snark and I love Michael Sera (I REALLY miss Arrested Development.

As a proud Canuck, I also like that it's two young leads are Canadian (Michael & Ellen) and that it was filmed in Canada.

Kara said...

I must need a nap. Sera is Cera.

bluegirl said...

Thanks dmfrommn, this seems like an interesting movie. Hopefully it'll be showing in Australia.
And, what a great interview! Never heard of the book but definitely going to read it now.


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