' ' Cinema Romantico: Juno

Sunday, December 16, 2007


This is the funniest movie of the year. It's laugh out loud funny. Usually, I can count on one (perhaps two) the number of times I laugh out loud during a movie, even at the so-called "comedies". But by about the fifteenth minute of "Juno" I'd already lost count.

It's comedy that comes from dialogue. Line after line after line after line is razor-sharp, brilliant, and hilarious. I'd like to spend the whole review simply quoting it but that would 1.) Ruin it for you and 2.) I can't even remember 75% of what I heard because there was so much of it. ("I think I'm gonna' go to Women Now because they help women now.") It's comedy that comes from character. All the characters here feel real and grow even more real as the film progresses. It's comedy that comes from a gang of high school runners who function as some sort of wordless Greek chorus. In a cinematic year where we continue to be blessed with great films, lo and behold, here's another one.

Juno McGuff (Ellen Page) is pregnant. The father is Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). "Paulie Bleeker?" says her father (J.K. Simmons). "I didn't think he had it in him." She briefly ponders abortion (which will no doubt get some asinine protest group of some sort that hasn't seen the movie and knows nothing about movies to get pissed off, but I digress) but instead she decides to seek out a couple seeking adoption. She quickly finds Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) in an ad in the paper, "next to exotic lamps".

You know the type of the home they have - something for which the term perfection was invented. Mark once had dreams of being a rock star but now writes commercial jingles. Vanessa is desperate to have a baby but we get the sense right off the bat that Mark maybe isn't quite as desperate.

There you go. That's the plot. You won't get anymore from me even though I really want to just sit here and, as I said earlier, quote lines ("dream big" - it's out of context but wait until you see it) but I think I'll just stop. Whenever it's released in your city, go see it. "National Treasure 2" will be everywhere when it opens but everyone has to wait for "Juno". Typical.

We want to love our movie characters, right? Isn't that how it works? When we go to a movie we want characters up on the screen that when we leave we can think about how much we loved them. Whether it's Captain Jack Sparrow, or Maggie Fitzgerald, or Rick Blaine, or Briony Tallis, we want those loveable characters to take us along for the ride. Well, I loved every character in "Juno". Every damn one of 'em. I loved Paulie Bleeker and his horribly short shorts. I loved Juno's parents (notice how her father talks just like her). I loved Mark, who will probably be seen as an overgrown child but then what man isn't? I loved Vanessa, if only because she was who she was and made no excuses for it. And I loved Juno. I loved the way she talked, and the way she said she didn't what kind of a girl she was and then slowly came to find out, and the fact she loved Patti Smith.

In fact, I would be proud as hell to have a daughter like Juno McGuff.

(Note: The screenwriter of this film bears the first name Diablo. Is this what it takes to make it in Hollywood? Maybe if I changed my first name to Teufel I could sell a script.)


Wretched Genius said...

Diablo Cody started as a stripper. That's what it takes to get make it in Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

i agree, juno was definitely the best movie of the year. diablo cody is one hell of a writer, and i think this should win best original screenplay. hopefully it'll get a nod for best picture as well.