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637 out of 1043 people found the following review useful:

Manipulative and Simplistic

Author: isabelle1955
13 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Look, I do get it. I fully appreciate that a film about a girl who gets pregnant, has an early abortion, then manages to move on, would be a pretty short movie. In fact, so short it wouldn't get made. No one wants to know about reality. And certainly in 21st century North America, no one wants to portray abortion as a viable option. Very, very bad form currently.

But when I see this film reviewed as "blazingly truthful" and the pregnant 16 year old central character described as being 'in a pickle', as I did in one review, as if perhaps she'd forgotten a homework assignment and might get detention, I have to admit that the cynic who lurks in my soul gets full rein. This is basically a cutesy film about being pregnant at 16, where despite a few problems, everyone gets to live pretty much happily ever after. Gosh, girl in a pickle comes good! Ahhh!! And apparently everyone in the cinema where I saw it was quite overwhelmed by attacks of the warm fuzzies, except me. Two seats away, a woman slightly older than me was weeping joyfully by the end while behind me, young women were giggling happily as sweet Juno's bump grew. Good grief! Is this really a message we want to give to 16 year olds?

I'm beginning to think I'm something of an oddity. You see, I don't find it 'blazingly truthful' that a bright, resourceful and articulate 16 year old as Juno is portrayed, would be so dumb as to have inadequately protected sex then seem surprised to find herself up the spout. One point of the script is that Juno herself apparently initiated the sex, thought it through in advance in fact, because she was bored. I therefore assume the pregnancy was at least to some extent planned. And if she really had no idea that sex might lead to pregnancy, her parents (portrayed as bemused but supportive), should be excoriated for such inadequate parenting. And if I see one more review which describes Juno as a comedy about growing up 'and the bumps along the way….' (I'm prepared to bet good money on that having been written by a middle aged man), I swear I'm going to run amok in the local mall with a urine dip stick. Being pregnant at 16 isn't a sweet joke, abortion clinics (whatever you think of their morality - and I'm neutral on that) are not run by morons, and while Juno has some amusing one-liners, and a good central performance from Ellen Page, it is basically a deeply flawed, superficial movie which is trying too hard to be cute. It's extremely manipulative.

I'm going to be very controversial and suggest that far from being surprised by an unplanned pregnancy, Juno might actually be a very willful young woman who wants to add pregnancy/childbirth/adoption to her 'experiments-in-living' list. At everyone else's expense. It certainly makes her the center of attention. She wouldn't be the first girl to get pregnant for that reason.

I found the situation between the adoptive parents more convincing. Childless Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) is desperate for a baby. Husband Mark is not so sure, and does at least eventually face up to the truth of his uncertainty by making a break for it. He may be 40 going on 18, but he's being honest about it. And for me the most moving scene in the whole film was when Vanessa held the newborn child in her arms for the first time, having decided to go it alone as a mother anyway. If there is a message to be taken from this movie, it's possibly that becoming a mother when the time is right, is just fine.

A superficial, cutesy, lightweight movie. The fact it was written by a woman is no excuse. I am gobsmacked that it's been nominated.

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552 out of 944 people found the following review useful:

This movie has stayed with me

Author: brino7 from United States
28 November 2007

I saw this movie at a preview in St. Louis about ten days ago and can't stop thinking about it.

I had no expectations going in (as I was given three free passes) as I took my teenage daughter and her friend. Learning about the subject matter, I was quite anxious how it would be shown and frankly I thought it was done very well.

First of all everyone has gone to High School with a Juno. That smart alec independent tomboy, cute, refreshing & fun to be around but not cool to date or be seen with. And the further removed from high school you are, you look back and wonder why? The acting by Ellen Page was outstanding (I had no clue who Ellen Page was - I have since watched Hard Candy). I can't remember a film that I was so drawn in by the main character.

I've always told friends for me the mark of a good movie is the character actors and their performances. They all deliver in this movie. I'm not going to go overboard and say its the best movie this year but it is one that I would recommend. Its rare I go to a preview and actually want to go see it again. Count me in come Dec 14th.

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243 out of 358 people found the following review useful:

about as indie as Avril is punk rock

Author: ceburo from United States
21 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I rarely post things on internet blogs but this is a bit of a concern of mine. I am worried that beautiful films such as L'Infant are going to now be classified in the same category as Juno. I understand the mass appeal of this movie-- the mainstream audience being confused and thinking it's an indie flick by the gritty film used and the obscure references but Juno is in no way an independent film. I think why it is so ineffective is because the audience it was trying to attract (the movie fanatics who hate big budget Hollywood junk i.e. anything with Jessica alba in it) saw it for what it really was: Hollywood junk wrapped up in a converse shoelace bow. It was as indie as Avril is punk rock.

Furthermore it is (in my opinion) a tasteless, pointless movie. For the majority of the film I am more annoyed with Juno than I am sympathetic to her plight. I also have a hard time relating to her as she is NOT a 16year old but rather a 35year olds characterization of a 16 year old (does this make sense?) I have NEVER heard a teenager / young adult in my life ever utter ridiculous lines such as "honest to blog?" or "yea I'm total for-shiz". What the hell? I thought maybe a stripper turned blogger would have been a little more able to develop a story with characters that are down to earth but this Juno character is absurd.

Plus the rest of the film is completely underdeveloped-- you never see the relationship with her stepmother develop or understand why it is the way it is. Her relationship with bleaker has maybe 25 minutes but it is in no way a developed understood relationship. In fact he's barely even seen! The summary of the movie includes the words "and with her beautiful friends help…" but in the movie there is absolutely no connection with her friends beauty and the relevance of it. Was there supposed to be some conflict? All these story arcs that were never completed.

I was very disappointed with this movie. Fox searchlight has produced many good films (notes on a scandal, little miss sunshine, the last king of Scotland, etc) but this is just an embarrassment. It wasn't as though the actors were bad-- Michael Cera as usual plays the adorable awkward adolescent and Ellen page, Jason Batemen, Jennifer Gardner, etc play their roles respectively but the whole premise of the movie was so over the top and unrealistic. Oscar worthy? It's ludicrous. This is a movie worth missing.

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518 out of 908 people found the following review useful:

I don't buy it, sorry.

Author: oddlaww from United States
2 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This whole movie was just one big farce. A great representation of stupid trivial empty references and buzz phrases that I am sure we will want to forget ever existed in the next year or so.

I saw it as less of a "independent" movie (or any sort of attempt at social commentary, character study, creative screen writing, etc) and more of a way for a company to make some money off the idiots who buy into laughing at jokes based on things that exist in the current culture.

HAHA she said something about how she eats "Taco Bell" or HAHA she drinks blue slushie drinks or HAHA orange tic-tacs or HAHA she mentioned "blogs". HAHA THATS SO FUNNY HOW CREATIVE OF YOU! Its all pointless garbage that only tries to cover up the fact that this movie had no storyline, the acting was bad (and I mean bad because the cast portrayed characters that seemed basically written for them specifically judging from their other work) and the soundtrack was comprised of quirky-indie-folky three-chord acoustic guitar movie music 101 that is so far past the point of being contrived and unoriginal it bewilders me how anyone could think it is genius.

I found the jokes annoying, the dialogue extremely annoying and the main character Juno was the most shallow person ever with no regard for anyone but her own selfish "I think I know more than those big dumb uncool adults" mentality. You ask why everyone in school is staring at you? Its because you are purposely making them stare at you by eating in the trophy case with your giant pregnant gut intentionally sticking out of that outfit next to your cliché "mountain of food" wrappers strewn all over yourself and said trophy case! As someone else said, the mentality of the screenwriter is that she not only owns a hamburger phone, but she WANTS everyone to know that she owns a hamburger phone! How can someone make such a desperate cry for attention but then shun everyone when they pay attention? It is all too forced and perfectly executed where I would ever believe that this was truly just a story written to warm people's hearts. This was just an example of how nowadays, everything is fair game for corporate rape; even hamburger phones and unknown-to-the-mainstream folk bands like the Moldy Peaches.

The public is buying into it, falling for it and just contributing to the further stupification and ignorance of everyone. It's a disgrace of a film and an insult to people who really work hard to CREATE THEIR OWN meaningful independent films. This writer just stole the ideas, subjects, personalities, words and lines from things created by people other than her so she can go buy a nice luxury house and live off the earnings fed by the sheep who hail this movie as brilliant.

You want to tell the already-rich vultures banking off this film how much you like to be controlled by them?? Go see this movie.

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316 out of 526 people found the following review useful:

I want my 10 dollars back!

Author: Ivonamcgill from Canada
30 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I must be the only person who can honestly say I didn't crack a smile once throughout the entire movie. It was hard for me to smile because I was busy being irritated at the horrible dialogue and annoying "jokes" spewed out by Juno and her stupid friends. Perhaps the worst part of all was the irritating and unnecessary indie "girl with a guitar" music constantly fading in and out throughout the movie.

The pattern to "Juno" was more or less like this: "I have a hamburger phone" *insert music to show how quirky Juno is with her hamburger phone* "Umm dad I got pregnant" *insert music to show what a dilly of a pickle Juno is in* "Ah well, stuff happens" says the dad *insert indie guitar with girl singing about how stuff happens* So just imagine 96 minutes of that kind of manure.

I respect Ellen Page as an actress but this movie is just too annoying. The only part of the movie I really enjoyed and seemed to have any depth to it was the situation with the couple who wanted to adopt Juno's child and their relationship. They were complex and real, and actually made me feel really sad and pity them.

I read through some reviews and I do not see any connections between Juno and Family Guy humor. I love Family Guy, and Juno is nothing like it. If I had to compare Juno to any movie I would say that it's a failed wannabe of Napoleon Dynamite.

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280 out of 474 people found the following review useful:

there was something to like in this movie ???

Author: progmetal from Chicago, United States
20 February 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How original. A teenage girl who has the "old soul" vibe to her and for no explained reason has knowledge of '77 Punk though she was born in the '90's and her dimwitted blonde friend sure doesn't know who Richard Hell would be. This movie is almost a slap in the face to anyone who has a good set of morals. Her "only" options are to go to an abortion clinic or give the baby up to spoiled yuppies? The basically uninformed and shy Michael cera has basically no say in anything until all her options run out and then she "decides" that they must have been in love all along. And the comments she makes while getting her ultrasound are borderline offensive and her mom had no right to stick up for her daughters constantly talking and babbling mouth. The fact that ANY teenager would actually act and talk like Juno is a farce. She even keeps stopping by the adopters house unannounced and basically hitting (or flirting) with Jason Bateman who is supposed to be adopting this baby! And OF COURSE the parents are not only supportive but have plenty of wacky looks and one-liners themselves. The soundtrack is even worse then the crappy dialogue in this movie. I left this movie feeling insulted and the lack of 'moral' to this story is ????? That you try two different ways to ditch your own kid (who she always refers to as "it") and when nothing works you go to the original father and say "lucky you"! Even the sex that took place was non-emotional and scary to think that high schoolers would just do it so casually like that. And why are people putting associating the word "indie" w/ this movie? It has major stars in it and looks pro. If I could of ripped my head from my body and thrown it at the screen in order to get this movie to stop I would have. Ellen Page deserves cut-out bargain bin for this movie not any awards. Her performance was of utter annoyance. Maybe the "american pie" movie crowd likes this but if you are a true lover of film....skip it!

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294 out of 512 people found the following review useful:

from the art house to the megaplex

Author: Roland E. Zwick ( from United States
9 January 2008

The thing that separates "Juno" from so many other films about teen pregnancy is that, in this case, the 16-year-old who finds herself in that predicament refuses to become a victim of her circumstances. From the moment she confirms the unwelcome news, Juno studies her options - abortion, raising the child as a single teen parent, adoption - then takes matters into her own hands. Like the Roman goddess who is her namesake, Juno is a bright, often sharp-tongued individual who prides herself on her observant cynicism and her way with a sarcastic quip. However, she's not above appealing to the adults in her life when the problems of the world get to be too much for her (though, in some cases, the grownups are coping with more serious issues than she is). Yet, Juno makes certain that it is she and she alone who will have the final say when it comes to determining the course of her own future and that of her child.

"Juno" is that rare low-budget, independent feature that finds unexpected success in the mainstream by striking a chord of recognition in audiences across the demographic spectrum. First-time screenwriter Diablo Cody hits pay dirt with a clear-eyed, largely unsentimental script that is not afraid to go off in unexpected and interesting directions and that avoids patronizing its Middle American characters. Juno's father and stepmother manage to take the news in stride, while the yuppie couple Juno alights on to be the child's adoptive parents are given a depth and complexity far beyond what a lesser writer might have afforded them. Director Jason Reitman keeps the quirkiness to a minimum and allows the scenes to play out in a naturalistic, unhurried way. Confident in the strength and appeal of his material, he lets the gentle human comedy speak for itself.

In a star-making turn, young Ellen Page takes a daring approach to her character, often bringing Juno right to the brink of un-likability, then pulling back at just the crucial moment, making us see how utterly likable she truly is. As the child's father, Michael Cera is virtually the same lovably passive nerd we found so endearing in "Superbad," while J.K. Simmons and especially Allison Janney give rich shadings to Juno's supportive parents. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner also make their mark as the couple who post their picture in the "baby wanted" section of the local throwaway.

"Juno" faces the downside of any independent film that unexpectedly finds itself ripped from the confines of the art houses and suddenly duking it out at the multiplexes with all those high-budget, high-octane, testosterone-laden blockbusters - namely the risk of over-inflated expectations. Thus, my advice is to look beyond all the hype and box office records and simply let "Juno" sneak up on and take a hold of you in its own quiet, inimitable fashion. I think it works best that way.

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193 out of 311 people found the following review useful:

A shallow, poorly considered exploitation of these important issues

Author: mrethanboy from United States
16 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At first blush, "Juno" seems like a pretty great movie. It's entertaining and lots of fun to watch. There's a great cast, and each of the film's characters are well-sketched and interesting. First-rate cinematography keeps the film colorful and engaging from start to finish. There are more than enough quirks, witty dialogues and obscure name-droppings to keep the hipsters placated. Perhaps it's just a bit pretentious and tries just a bit too hard, but these flaws could be overlooked. The movie should have been a charming little indie-lite film.

But it's not. Ultimately, I stepped out of the theater feeling frustrated and unsatisfied. The problem is that "Juno" tackles two very relevant issues in today's society –- namely, abortion and teenage pregnancy –- and utterly fails to address either in a way that is realistic or compelling. Now, maybe it's unfair to expect Juno to make a decent exploration of these complex themes. It's just a comedy, after all. However, even as many critics praise the movie's keen humor and witty banter, it's hard not to get caught up in the fact that this movie painfully abuses these highly relevant issues.

In one particularly wince-worthy scene, Juno's stepmother tells off an ultrasound technician for indicating that teenage mothers are less capable of taking care of their kids than adults. She argues that teenagers could be just as devoted to their children as their adult counterparts, and that she should stick to the things that she knows about. Instead of defending her position, the technician wordlessly exits while Juno, her friend and her stepmother exchange verbal high-fives.

The film makes offers no exploration of the ultrasound technician's completely valid viewpoint. Are teenagers ready to leave school to get a job and start supporting a dependent of their own? Are these kids really mature enough to tackle these issues? Should they have to? Does the amount of devotion to the baby really matter when you can hardly afford food and shelter? These relevant questions are left unasked. The scene is telling of either the director's ignorance or else his pointed attempt to skew facts to make a point, and neither shines well on the movie.

Juno MacGuff seems to be living in a dream world. Never mind her ridiculous vocabulary or unrealistically snappy sarcasm – her parents barely react to the news of her pregnancy, she almost effortlessly finds parents to adopt her unborn child (in a newspaper want ad, no less), the legal issues are smoothed out in the span of 30 seconds and Juno's social ostracism is hinted at but hardly explored in any meaningful way. Instead of getting a believable portrayal of teenage pregnancy, the film offers the pretentious name-dropping of hip punk bands. At one point, Juno actually says "Sonic Youth is just noise" as a biting insult. It's all a tad ridiculous.

At the end of the day, perhaps none of this should interfere with enjoyment of the movie. Perhaps one should gloss over the film's aggravating biases and enjoy what is otherwise a great film. However, the fact remains that Juno passes itself as an artsy independent film about teenage pregnancy and abortion, but it is little more than a shallow, poorly considered exploitation of these important issues.

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192 out of 322 people found the following review useful:

Another in a long line of College Kid Quote Fodder (tm)

Author: Galcian from Daytona Beach, FL, USA
10 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We've all done it. We've had that little moment where we think we're clever. We will jot down a poem, a short story or maybe even direct a super poignant student film and try to amaze everyone with our talents. After blowing smoke up our own butts for a while, most of us come back to earth fairly easily. Sometimes, we'll look back on these moments years later and say, "Ah. My youth. How foolish I was back then.." and enjoy a bit of nostalgia. Juno is what happens when that moment festers long enough to make it to the big screen.

In the first line of the movie, the titular Juno claims that it all started with a chair. I'm thinking it really started with a very pretentious writer named Brook Busey-Hunt (a woman who refers to herself as "Diablo Cody" and wrote a memoir when she was only 24, if you want an idea of just how pretentious she is) saying to herself, "Tee hee! What a neat idea I've just had! A movie that ends with the same thing it begins with! I'm a genius!" This is pretty much the feeling I got throughout the film; a movie constantly in awe of itself. A movie THINKING it's clever instead of actually making an honest attempt to BE clever. And, as with many films these days, it's designed to be College Kid Quote Fodder™. As such, Juno has received much critical acclaim, and yet another bad example of how to make a movie is made. An example that will be copied and recycled to the point of obscenity. If you need proof, look no further than Juno itself, which feels largely derivative of films such as Napoleon Dynamite.

It's hard for me to point out anything good about this flick, as nearly every moment of it is so overflowing with arrogance and self indulgence that the finer details are scarcely visible. There were a few moments here and there that made me sort've laugh. Not an audible "ha-ha" laugh. Just that little inner laugh where you blow air through your nose once. Most of the dialog is very gimmicky and focuses on making young hipsters feel cool because they have knowledge of semi-current popular culture and the popular culture of yesteryear. Nearly every line is like something out of an episode of Robot Chicken, Venture Brothers or Family Guy, and the young, ignorant, "edgy" 20-somethings who are lauding this film as a masterpiece gorge themselves on that sort of thing. The "THUNDERCATS ARE GO!" line alone is going to ensure that Juno will be recorded in the annals of history amongst those who wear "Vote for Pedro" t-shirts and grown women who still wear those annoying, multi-colored striped socks with all the toes. And there are lot of you. I see you at the mall hanging out in front of HotTopic all the time. And man, Sweeny Todd and Juno at the same time? You guys must be having a liturgy.

See? I just did it right there. I was being a snide little jerk who thinks he's funny. But the difference here is that this is just a review soon to be flamed and forgotten, whereas Juno is currently ranked as the 129th greatest movie of all time at IMDb. That might not sound like a big deal, but bare in mind that this puts it above such films as The Gladiator, Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, Life of Brian, The Princess Bride.. and, well, I don't even want to continue this list. It's too depressing.

The film isn't a total loss. There are some decent performances, at the very least. Most notably, we have Juno's parents, played by J.K. Simmons, who many will remember as Jamison from the Spiderman trilogy, and the West Wing's Allison Janney. Their characters were funny, sincere, and had the only worthwhile lines in the film. The would-be parents of Juno's unborn child, played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, are also played fairly well (though Garner definitely feels more than a bit out of place). The problem is that as convincing and adorable as these characters are, they're peripheral characters with very little to offer. As a matter of fact, the only character in this film who doesn't feel peripheral is Juno herself, played by Ellen Page. Page's performance is a tough one for me to slam because I can't quite tell if she's just wooden or if she's struggling with the awful, novelty dialog Brook Busey-Hunt wrote for her. The other characters aren't so much characters as they are caricatures, and also feel largely peripheral and derivative, even Juno's key love interest in the film.

In the end, Juno is just another film to provide young adults something to quote in front of their friends so they sound funny. But because the young people of this generation are so pertinacious and precious, Juno is adored by them and will probably go down in history as a masterpiece along with similar College Kid Quote Fodder™ movies like 300, Borat and Napoleon Dynamite. I was recommended this movie by a friend, and I was somewhat excited to see it after seeing all the raving in its wake. I won't say for certain that you should or shouldn't see this film. If you think shows like the Venture Brothers or Family Guy are the zenith of comic genius, you will love this movie, and by all means, go see it. If you're a bit less juvenile and have a taste for real comedy like the works of Woody Allen or Mel Brooks, Juno might leave you pretty confused and $8 bucks poorer to boot. Go see Walk Hard instead, while you still can. You'll at least get a good laugh, which is what comedy aims for, and something Juno fails at miserably.

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151 out of 241 people found the following review useful:

Let's not get carried away, people.

Author: shizz_27 from United States
16 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Juno" is funny (nearly every single line of dialogue is written to elicit laughter), directed with at just as sure a hand as "Thank You For Smoking".. possibly surer.. and acted gamely by the whole cast -- especially Olvia Thirlby and J.K. Simmons as the title character's galpal and understanding dad. The script, by Diablo Cody, is rich with one-liners; anyone who's read Candy Girl (which is unbelievably intelligent and funny; her description of Shania Twain, especially, had me rolling) will kind of know what to expect.

This is without a doubt Ellen Page's show. She's in almost every scene, and I couldn't spot an instalnce when she made a bad decision or timed a delivery anything but dead-on. During a funky, kick azz opening title sequence, Juno is on her way to the pharmacy. "I just drank my weight in Sunny D, and gotta go, pronto!" It's time for another pregnancy test, because the last result looked more like a division symbol than a plus sign. New stick: same plus.

The father's a guy Juno had sex with once upon a time, who also happens to be her best friend, Paulie Bleeker (a non-affected, quite bland Michael Cera). She decides to give it up for adoption, being 16 and all, which Paulie supports -- as do Juno's father and step-mom -- and the rest of the film is about her selection of adoptive parents.

Pretty straightforward storytelling, but with an ear for quirky, hip dialogue. If the spoken words were any more "cool", or the actors speaking them did so with any less suave, my gag reflex might have taken over. The AFF audience I saw it with, last Sunday, couldn't get enough from the second Juno tells a dog to shut up, through lines comparing babies to iPods and Alison Janney going off on a physician.

There's good stuff, here. And even though it never really swept me off my feet, the film is consistently humorous and, in one scene near the end, somewhat heartbreaking.

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