A lot of critics have attacked Juno for its dialogue, saying most teenagers don't talk like that. True, but since when is the dialogue in movies always based firmly in reality? The most important thing is that Juno is delightfully entertaining. Rarely has a movie so perfectly bridged the gap between teen comedy and adult drama and done so in such a fully-realised, mature manner.
For those who are still unaware, Juno is the story of a 16-year-old girl from Minnesota who finds herself pregnant after her first night of sex with her soulmate. Ellen Page, who landed on my “star of the future” radar with her impressive performance in 2005’s Hard Candy, continues to blaze her way to the pinnacle of Hollywood success with her turn as Juno MacGuff, a wisecracking teen who opts to carry her child to term and then hand it over for adoption to a well-to-do yuppie couple played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner. Working from a terrific clever-as-can-be script (which won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar this year) by stripper-turned-journalist Diablo Cody, Juno manages to tackle a sensitive subject, and the difficult choices that go with it, in a wonderfully mature and non-preachy fashion. Accolades are also due for the way it presents Juno’s parents as decent, even-keel folks, and teens as intelligent individuals with greater depth and breadth than simple party animal morons.
Directed by Jason (Thank You For Smoking) Reitman, the son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, and smartly casting Michael Cera (Superbad) in the role of newfound father and the cheese to her macaroni, as Juno describes him, this movie will not only make you laugh, but touch you with its compassion and tenderness without ever stooping to maudlin lows or resorting to clichés or stereotypes to tell its story. This is quite possibly the very best film of 2007.
EXTRAS **** An audio commentary with director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody; deleted scenes (also featuring commentary from Reitman and Cody); a gag reel (in which the cast say "sorry" a lot, and Jason Bateman delivers some sage advice: "The water in the bong is just meant to cool the smoke, you're not supposed to drink it"); a gag take in the store featuring Rainn WIlson and Reitman swearing at each other a lot; Cast and Crew jam, in which the cast and crew of the film dance around and pretend to play instruments to the OK Go song Do What You Want; screen tests; and four featurettes: Way Beyond "Our" Maturity Level, Diablo Cody is Totally Boss, Jason Reitman for Shizz and Honest to Blog. Now that's quite a package indeed, and puts so many other featureless DVD releases to shame. Yes Playback, we're looking at you.