Sarcasm lightens up teen pregnancy issue in new movie

Alex Bethke

Alex Bethke

Juno is a delightfully light-hearted comedy about a rather serious situation, unwanted teen pregnancy. Directed by Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking), the movie is placed in a small Minnesotan town somewhere within an hour of St. Cloud and begins with a chair. Yes, a chair. The chair that Juno (Ellen Page) and best friend/kind of a boyfriend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera, Superbad) “experiment” in. That experiment eventually leads to Juno’s third positive pregnancy test in one day and “?one doodle that can’t be un-did, home skillet.”

Juno decides to give her baby to an infertile couple that would really enjoy the gift of life. So Juno and her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) turn to the ads in the penny saver, right next to the exotic bird section, for a loving couple to adopt her baby. They find that couple in Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) Loring. However, as expected, a pregnant 16-year-old and even the Lorings are bound to hit some bumps on the rocky road to happiness.

Although I feel that the movie takes the whole teen pregnancy situation a little bit too casually, it is great because of its excellent dialogue and perfect casting. Ellen Page delivers a wonderful performance as a spunky, easy to love but somewhat odd teenager full of quirky zingers and random thoughts. You’ll be sure to want to see this one, two or three times to make sure you catch all the dialogue you missed because you were laughing. Juno’s loving and supportive parents played by J.K. Simmons (Thank You For Smoking, Spiderman) and Allison Janney (The West Wing) seem to steal every scene they are in. Simmons gives off a genuine warmth that makes him a perfect father figure. Janney is the dog-loving stepmother ready to pounce to her defense whenever needed. During an ultrasound session, she defends Juno and rips the ultrasound technician a new one, leading them all to be escorted off the premises. Michael Cera plays his usual role as an awkward under-confident high schooler (hopefully you caught a few episodes of Arrested Development before it was wrongfully cancelled, and I already know you have seen Superbad), but he does it beautifully and gives a very convincing performance. He’s also on the track team, which seems to be in season year round.

Juno was up for several awards including Best Motion Picture- Comedy, Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy and Best Screenplay from the Golden Globes alone. Ellen Page has already won Best Actress awards from the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and the Florida Film Critics Circle Awards. She is also up for some “breakthrough” type awards.

Personally, this is my favorite kind of film. It’s a small production that is wonderfully cast and involves a real life situation. The best films are ones that could actually happen. If something in a movie makes you think, “that only happens in the movies,” then it doesn’t fit in this category. This is a great film especially for college students. Grab a group of your friends to create the right atmosphere, and go see Juno.