Juno begins with its title character walking to the convenient store to purchase her third pregnancy test in as many hours. The film morphs from live action to a drawing style animation backed by a Moldy Peaches song, an auspicious and stylish start. The story follows Junebug (as she is affectionately called), her pregnancy, and her subsequent decision to give the baby up for adoption. The whole teenage pregnancy storyline is handled with a certain amount of levity…too much levity. Juno teeters on the edge of amusement during her pregnancy, showing little emotional attachment throughout. Aside from one scene where she pulls the car over to rid her dormant tears, we never get a real sense that pregnancy for a 16 year old girl is anything but a catalyst for comedic material.
During the first act, the headstrong Juno is a little unbelievable in terms of her use of language and one-liners, which brought to mind the former stripper turned screenwriter Diablo Cody…if that’s her real name. When the audience is thinking of the screenwriter and her attempts to be a little too cute with a sixteen-year-old character, they’re taken out of the story. The uneven dialogue in addition to the weak character development of the supporting cast brought the film down a peg. The father of Juno’s child, played by the brilliantly awkward Michael Cera, doesn’t seem to get enough screen time and the movie could have benefited from developing his character a bit more, but that’s nit picking.
All told, the movie was still able to convey some emotional resonance mainly due to the stellar cast. Everyone in this film gives a great performance, especially Ellen Page, Michael Cera, and Jason Bateman, who plays a former rocker that now writes commercial jingles. He is married to Jennifer Garner, who makes a strong turn herself as an adoptive mother longing to love a child of her own. Go see this movie and if you’re a teenager, don’t get pregnant…it’s not all that great from what we know of the real world.