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It should come as no surprise that Jason Reitman has made another stellar film. Juno, written by the insanely talented Diablo Cody, is one of the best comedies in years.
Juno is the story of Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), a witty teen who is considered quite the oddball at her school. Her only real connection, besides her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby), is to her pseudo-boyfriend Paulie Bleeker (Superbad’s Michael Cera). After a romantic encounter in a recliner, Juno discovers she is pregnant with Paulie’s child and decides to give the baby to a couple, played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, who seem like the perfect parents.
There have been comedies about teen pregnancy before, but none with such clever dialogue or phenomenal performances from the cast. Saved!, had all the potential to be as witty as Juno, but ended with an all-to-predictable climax at the prom. In the ending of that film, all the characters got what they wanted. By contrast, in the ending of Juno, all the characters are happy with what they have. This lends the film a level or realism, placing it far above Saved! because it is able to maintain its biting wit, even through more touching scenes.
It would be hard to describe why this film is so spectacular without mentioning the fantastic performances from the cast, particularly its young star, Page. As the title character, she is able to encompass every emotion as well as every humorous line of dialogue that Juno has in the film. She is mature, yet youthful. She is cynical, yet sweet. She is strong and tough, yet occasionally nervous and vulnerable. Where Hard Candy proved that Page could act, Juno proves that she may be one of Young Hollywood’s best.
Cera is easy to love as the sweet but awkward Paulie. Like his performance as George Michael Bluth in one of the greatest TV shows to ever get cancelled, Arrested Development, he brings such heart to the role that audiences can’t help but root for him.
There are no weak links in the film and the supporting cast is just as memorable as the lead characters. J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney as Juno’s father and stepmother brought the house down at the Starz Denver Film Festival screening last night with some of the funniest lines in the film.
Juno is, without a doubt, one of the best films at this year’s Starz Denver Film Festival. Upon its arrival in theaters this December, audiences are sure to see it multiple times to catch lines they missed while they were laughing.