(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.