(No longer in theaters)
Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Mason Novick, Russell Smith
Dec 25, 2007
In the credit sequence of the teen-pregnancy comedy Juno, the title heroine (Ellen Page) strides with magnetic confidence through the streets of suburbia, and her trek metamorphoses into a wiggly, elating cartoon, with a girl-group pop song to reinforce the notion that headstrong Juno is her own universe. So far, so infectious, but in the next scene she goes to buy a pregnancy test from a snarky pharmacist and bizarrely blurts out everything she’s doing; she comes out of the bathroom and rants about the little plus sign. I know Juno is not supposed to care what other people think of her. I know she’s a poster girl (or will be) for the Facebook Generation—the one with zero sphere of privacy. But I could never go with her manic exhibitionism in the drugstore. She’s a screwball heroine, but it’s the writer, Diablo Cody, and the director, Jason Reitman, who have screws loose. Or maybe they’re just desperate to make their film a chick Rushmore or Garden State—a movie that confers hipness on teens, that makes kids want to use the same slang and snap up the soundtrack and buy the vintage Japanese comics and rent the hack-’em-up DVDs it references.
Juno's biggest hook is Page, a young Canadian actress who played Red Riding Hood as an avenging vigilante torturer in the horror-psychodrama Hard Candy. In that one, you never knew when her character was playacting and when she was supposed to be genuinely distraught—she was a feminist construct. But Page blurred the line in a way that kept you watching her. She has a talent for making her motormouthed lines sound like they’re really coming from her head. Here, her mixture of flamboyant self-possession and vulnerability could turn her into a new role model. Prepare yourself for the Juno generation.