Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Young, Dumb, and Full of...Well, Ya Know

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(Courtesy of 236.com)

Nuff Said...
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Speaking of all things preggers, against everything in my body saying to do otherwise, I somehow found myself watching the overhyped, overexposed, talked-way-too-much-about "Juno", which not surprisingly, is exactly what you think it is; not bad, just not great either.

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"Juno" is cute, cuddly, and so saccharine sweet it makes your teeth hurt at times. Michael Cera plays his dorky Everyman to his usually charming ability (Am I the only one who can't wait till he goes and does some really fucked up murderer/rapist/asshole turn in a film? May the ghost of Ducky haunting "Two and a Half Men" teach him the error of the lovable loser's ways), and the ensemble cast comprising Juno's immediate family (J,K. Simmons and Allison Janney) do a great job at playing that open-minded sweet parental unit that every rebellious suburban teenager wishes they had.

And that's where "Juno" seems to take the biggest hit; everything seems too easy, and for a supposedly whip-smart comedy about teen pregnancy, there just isn't enough conflict to make Juno's reality as plausible as it could be. When faced with the prospect of abortion (which thankfully, unlike "Knocked Up" at least attempts to broach the subject), Juno is dissuaded too easily, somewhat contrary to the sharp intellect reflected in her dialogue. At times, Jason Reitman's direction appears more concerned with being cute and playing up laughs than letting a nice moment unfold on its own. (Let me be on record though as saying that I love screenwriter Diablo Cody,cause of her awesome pen name, and cause anyone that can go from the pole to the Oscars is a-okay in my book)

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Like many things thoroughout the film, Rainn Wilson's cameo as the convenience store clerk is forced, and at best, biogradably disposable. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner do a decent job as the infertile yuppie couple, with Garner's unabashed, almost overbearingly mannequin-like enthusiasm nicely compensated by Bateman's turn as the middle aged adolescent male bordering on an almost Humbert Humbert cheekiness.

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The saving grace of this diabetic nightmare is Ellen Page, who's smart allecky-though-ofcourse-insecure-teenage-girl not only carries the film, but thrives inspite of the jokey dialogue. Although too much of the film is spent setting her Juno up with wise cracks and one-liners, Page's balance between comedic center and emotional foundation is beautifully well played.

Despite a hokey, so-cute-it-makes-me-wanna-swear-off-sugar-and-lo-fi-indie-music-for-life-finale, "Juno" accomplishes what it sets out to: making teenage girls feel all warm inside, allowing hipsters to bask in its overstated-understated indie glory, and making even the Conservative Right feel a little comfortable with a sinfully liberal back talking, pre-marital sex having teeny bopper.

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Now all is right in the world...break out the multicolored knee highs and let's play "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" for the umpteenth fucking time.

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