Tuesday, January 1, 2008

“JUNO”

(Ellen Page, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Michael Cera)

Saw this the same day as ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ & it paled by comparison. Maybe it isn’t as bad as it seemed because of that – but ‘Juno’ IS very much like the city in Alaska, despite the spelling, because this dreary, mundane, monotone teenage girl wasn’t the least bit lovable. She’s the oddball character in school that everyone tried to avoid because she seemed to be living in a different world than the rest of us. So why would we want to watch her bitch & moan her way thru an unwanted pregnancy?Juno is quick with the wise-cracks, but this character is portrayed as someone who isn’t very bright in school – a total slacker; so where is this ‘wit’ coming from. & the writer, by giving her words that no ‘above average’ high school student would use makes the Ellen Page’s performance seem rather phony.

Plus, who in there right mind thinks this is an Oscar-worthy performance? She’s a one-note character – there’s no growth, no stretching of any acting chops – nothing but a drab little whiner using ‘hip’ words like ‘shenanigans’.Michael Cera plays the same kid he portrayed in Super Bad & TV. He’s a complete loser, so naturally, bland little Juno is infatuated with him. He’s the slowest guy on track team – you remember that geek – he’s the one the coach made hand out towels in the showers – the team ‘mascot’. So why do they have him winning a race?Is this supposed to signify that because he impregnated a fellow student, he’s suddenly ‘manly’? Give me a break!Jason Bateman & Jennifer Garner play the perspective ‘adopted parents’ to Juno’s unborn baby. Garner gives her best performance to date – she is believable as the hopeful mommy-to-be, but the scenes with Bateman as she discovers what is going on inside his sick twisted mind lack any pizzazz or true emotion.Bateman’s househusband role works for a while, but when he turns into a smarmy despicable creep – well, you just don’t realize it until – boom – he announces he’s a smarmy despicable creep.

The only redeeming characters & performances come from J.K. Rowling & Alison Janney as Juno’s parents; they have the best lines because thanks to their portrayers, they appear to be genuine.If this didn’t come pre-hyped as an Oscar contender, I’d say ‘Juno’ was a decent, semi-interesting character study – But Oscar-buzz for this simplistic ‘little’ film that never reaches a crescendo? No, not even close.

7 comments:

Jo said...

Dude! I liked this movie! I liked the dialog. Intellectual humor. Refreshing.

Anonymous said...

It's a good script from a first time screenwriter and a nice story and all, but one of the top 5 of 2008 ? I think not. Eastern Promises, Into The Wild, 3:10 To Yuma and Before The Devil Knows You're Dead I feel are stronger movies. Btter acted and better story telling.
Sometimes the " intellectual " humor was a tad bit too smarmy for it's own good. Like the screenwriter is screaming out " Look I know all the new slang ! "
I also think Nancy Oliver's script for Lars and The Real Girl much more original than Juno. Think about the premise for that movie ?!

terry r. said...

Wow, Anonymous 5/29 11:47 PM - I couldn't agree more with your assessment of 'Juno' & the 5'better' films you mentioned all made my Top 10 of '07 list.
I admit that I slammed 'Juno' a bit more than I should because it was being hyped as an Oscar contender, so it wasn't as bad as I made it sound, but it clearly wasn't worthy of all the raves it received.

Anonymous said...

why this evryone think funny. no good. that girl not good. fall asleep. not understand awrd. this one ovrated. 3time i agree with you. you just do no comedy is all.

eddie said...

this was ok, not great that people tried to make it to be and i got annoyed by the end of both the page and cera performance. didn't deserve a best picture nomination. it was in no way better than 3:10 to yuma, before the devil knows you're dead, american gangster and eastern promises. and i almost would argue the legitamcy of page being oscar nominated as well.

Terry R. said...

We are in complete agreement, Eddie. If the critics hadn't showered this film with all the adoration they heaped upon it, I would have said, it's a nice little film that you might enjoy - but the fact that they made it out to be this incredible film, I found myself disliking it because it didn't deserve all that praise.

blue stater said...

Ditto to the overrated replies.