Posted by: Staff | 02.04.2008

Juno’s ‘Eggo is Preggo’

TAYLOR HAIGLER ‘08

From its outstanding soundtrack to its quirky dialogue, Juno has captured audiences of all ages. It has done extremely well in the box office due in part to its exceptionally positive critical reception. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars, calling it, “just about the best movie of the year.” He then added, “Has there been a better performance this year than Ellen Page’s creation of Juno? I don’t think so.”

This movie was directed by Jason Reitman, well known for his movie Thank You For Smoking, and written by first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody, known for her novel Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper. The duo has crafted a beautiful film that is original, engaging and hilarious. If one were forced to categorize Juno, it would fall into the often criticized “coming-of-age, teen, romantic comedy” category. It is clear, however, that recent popular movies such as Superbad and Juno prove that this label isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Ellen Page stars as Juno McGuff, a witty, teenage girl living in a Minnesota suburb. She is wise beyond her years, yet hasn’t quite figured out her world or how she fit’s in. Juno’s single experimentation with sex with her geeky, tic-tac popping, best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) results in pregnancy. Juno faces this dilemma with the same smart, unconventional attitude that she always has and accepts her situation with maturity. Throughout the film, Juno deals with the annoyance of her pregnancy, a peculiar prospective adoptive couple and her on-again, off-again relationship with Bleeker.

The acting in this movie is incredible. Ellen Page nails the role of the mega-cool and complex Juno. And no one could capture the awkward charm of Paulie Bleeker as well as Michael Cera. The adoptive couple is played by ever-so-funny Jason Bateman, Michael Cera’s former co-star on “Arrested Development”, and movie star Jennifer Garner. These two play their parts well, portraying an unsure guy who is not quite ready to grow up and accept responsibility and a woman who wants nothing more in life than to be a mother. The rest of the cast members, known for their strong roles in other productions, live up to their reputations as well. Cody’s script and Reitman’s direction allow the personalities of these unique characters to emerge.

Though Juno seems like a tearjerker chick flick, it has something for everybody. Guys can enjoy the clever rhetoric and cool music, while girls swoon over Bleeker’s “bony bod”. From the first scene, where Rainn Wilson (AKA Dwight Schrute, from “The Office”) tells Juno her “eggo is preggo,” to the time Juno refers to herself as “the cautionary whale,” this movie will have you in hysterics, despite your gender. The dilemma of a pregnant teenage girl faced with the reality of giving up her baby is not a groundbreaking story line, and could probably be seen on Lifetime any night of the week, but Juno sets itself apart as a heartfelt and serious comedy.

While practically every movie has a soundtrack, the songs in most are often nothing more than background music to fill in silences and are compiled into an album in hopes of additional revenue for the production. However, Juno is an exception as the movie’s identity is greatly shaped by its music. The eclectic music styling of Kimya Dawson, The Velvet Underground, The Kinks, Belle and Sebastian and even a song sung by Ellen Page and Michael Cera themselves are, in part, the spirit of the film. The soundtrack, which mixes classic rock favorites with indie-rock gems, seems to add sadness, anger and humor to the movie. The composer Mateo Messina had this in mind when he based the film’s score on Dawson’s music, who has eight tracks in the movie.

Juno has done very well in the independent film socket and has gone on to earn four academy award nominations. Ellen Page is up for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Jason Reitman was nominated for Best Achievement in Directing, Diablo Cody was selected for Most Original Screenplay and the movie itself is up for the Best Motion Picture of the Year.

Along with critics across the country, Juno got rave reviews right here at Beaver. Sophie Meltzer described it as “heart wrenchingly hilarious” and Dana Spigelman, President of the Movie Club said it was, “pure fun from start to finish”. However, some didn’t catch on to the brilliance that is Juno, like Peter Wilmot, who referred to the film as “good” but said, “it could have used more action”. Peter must have been asleep when Juno expounded on her love of bloody and gory horror films or when Bren, Juno’s stepmother, verbally attacked an ultrasound technician.

Juno teaches us that life doesn’t always happen the way you thought it would but, more often than not, it happens for a reason. Juno is this year’s breakout indie flick (like last year’s “Little Miss Sunshine”) because of its unforgettable characters, original humor and infinitely quotable lines.

Image from: http://www.hollywoodchicago.com

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Responses

  1. What an article. The suspense! The drama! The sadness 😦 The author of this piece is a fine scribe, and at least on the same level as local Bostonian reviewer Ty Burr. This column is a wonderful preview of an obviously magical film.

  2. What? Better than the globe! not equal!New York Times watch out!


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