JUNO (Jason Reitman) Rating: NNN
Unless you live in a pop-?culture blackout, you know that ex-?stripper and current Entertainment Weekly columnist Diablo Cody won an Oscar for this hyper-?quirky teen-?pregnancy script.
Juno was directed by Canadian-?born Jason Reitman, shot in Vancouver and stars the Canadian It Kids of the moment — Ellen Page (as title character Juno MacGuff) and Michael Cera (as Juno’s guy pal and baby daddy, Paulie Bleeker). Its Canuck provenance and unconventional heroine (not to mention the Oscar win and boffo box office) make it a natural choice to kick off Harbourfront’s Free Flicks outdoor film series Tuesday (July 8).
Cody’s script starts out painfully chock full o’ jokes and makes an awkward tonal shift halfway through. The cast, however, is uniformly excellent, with subtle performances by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as the baby’s adoptive parents and stellar supporting turns by J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney as Juno’s dad and stepmom. But listen closely – Page and Cera are experts in mumbled teenage delivery that might get lost in an outdoor venue.
The Harbourfront series, absent last year, is re?launching under new sponsorship with the theme “Unleashed.” That so many of the chosen films are about teenagers says something about the innate conservatism either of adults or of movies for adults. After Juno comes Wes Anderson’s kick-?ass coming-of-age comedy Rushmore (July 15) and later on is Sofia Coppola’s feature debut, The Virgin Suicides (July 29). The only grown-?up flick on offer is Run Lola Run (August 5), wherein Franka Potente’s unlimited energy is “unleashed” for 80 pulse-?pounding minutes.
The final film, on August 12, will be chosen online by the audience. To vote, or for more information, go to harbourfrontcentre.com.