Posted by: Johnny Loftus on December 21, 2007 at 4:00 pm

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Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)

The early ‘80s offered Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The early ‘90s milked Seattle for Singles. From Spicoli to grunge, the films captured a sharp slice of life. Now, with no contribution by Cameron Crowe whatsoever, Juno manages the same. Written by ex-stripper Diablo Cody — you’ve heard the stories; you saw the interviews — the premise is simple. A pregnant 16-year-old struggles with the decision to have her baby. But then, Hard Candy’s red-hooded, doll-faced Ellen Page is no ordinary teenager.

For the film, director Jason Reitman combines quirky animated sequences with Cody’s over-the-top dialogue (consider Rainn Wilson’s taunt “This is your third test today, your egg-o is preg-o.”) and follows a swerving plot through the lives of Juno’s family and friends. Even the necessary scene where Juno breaks the news to her father, the kind of scene that’s in every Lifetime movie about teen pregnancy, too, is tempered by starkly funny writing. “What have you done June Bug?”, he asks. “Have you hit someone with the Previa?”

Unlikely baby-daddy Paulie Bleeker is played by Michael Cera, aka the solitary conscience of Superbad. Paulie is an orange Tic Tac-addicted track star and Juno’s best friend. Cera is also reunited with his “Arrested Development” co-star Jason Bateman for Juno, as the adoptive father-to-be. But things aren’t quite as they seem with this cookie-cutter couple from St. Cloud (Bateman is opposite Jennier Garner as his wife), and Juno’s plan starts to unravel to a hipster soundtrack that makes room for Cat Power, The Decemberists, and even Mott the Hoople. It all leaves you hopeful for the future of teen movies, and curiously craving Tic Tacs. — Ava Dial

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[tags]Juno, Michael Cera, Ellen Page, Jason Bateman, Jason Reitman, Jennifer Garner[/tags]

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