film review: Juno (2007)

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You’ve probably heard of Juno; it’s the indie comedy which has been nominated for four Oscars – comparisons abound with Little Miss Sunshine from last year – and like Little Miss Sunshine, it’s a cheerful little film, it jaunts along with its clever little offbeat jokes and it’s oh so postmodern…

Hmm… I sounded quite negative there… I actually liked this film, I thought it was very good, in fact one of the best films I’ve seen this year (granted it’s only February but I’ve seen a good few films). I laughed, I almost shed a tear, but I just don’t think that I’ll be thinking about Juno and her quandary in six months time. It was all just very neat and shiny, it was all very slick and “sorted”. It was just all too easy and I felt like I was being played.

I should probably tell you a bit about the film… Juno is a 16-year old girl – smart, independent, given to speaking in ridiculous slang (thankfully that’s mostly contained to the first ten or fifteen annoying minutes) and above all pregnant. The father is Bleeker, sweet kid but Juno doesn’t seem to appreciate this. Anyway to go any further plotwise would be to give it away but obviously pregnant in high school is not the greatest situation to be in and the film follows the tale of the pregnancy.

What I liked about this film was all the smaller roles, Bleeker (played by Michael Cera) was particularly good, as was J.K. Simmons as her father. It was the cast of characters around Juno that made her more believable, simply because on her own she was too cool, too sure of herself. Looking back at the film we didn’t really get much from her, it was the reactions to her that made the film interesting. That said, she was pretty funny – wisecracks don’t make a character but they do make you laugh and that’s always good.

To be honest, I did think it was a sweet film, I did laugh and I did like it but I think there was an opportunity here to make a really great film and it was lost. I would have liked to see Juno “deal” a bit more. I would have liked it all to be harder *look away if you don’t want to know a plot point* – which is not the say that I wanted to see disowned or anything – *you can look again* but I just think don’t think that anyone learned anything from the events in the film. Not that people have to learn things the whole time but… I don’t know, there just could have been more to it… That said, I’m still giving it 7.5 out of 10, I still think it was a good laugh and it’s well worth seeing.

Anyway, two random points to mention. One, it did quite remind me of Napoleon Dynamite. Two, I can’t believe this is the same guy who made Thank You For Smoking. I loved Thank You For Smoking and while this was a good film I do think it was a bit of a safe step back… but then that’s just my opinion… What did you think?


1 Comment

  1. comment-avatar
    emmetFebruary 21, 2008 - 10:37 am

    Well very much like Thank You for Smoking it involved JK Simmons being in a really well put together part. The way they didn’t overuse him or Michael Cera’s character Bleeker worked well.

    I was stunned to find that I was impressed by a Jennifer Garner performance. I would not normally be a fan but WOW. That scene in the mall with her was just gold.

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