JUNO (Fox, 2007) D: Jason Reitman, w/ Ellen Page, Michael Cera. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNN
It’s no great stretch for a 20-year-old woman to play a 16-year-old girl, but Ellen Page does such a fresh, natural job on Juno that she’s a revelation. It helps a lot that Juno the character is as cliché-free as Juno the movie, which is smart fun from the opening animation to the final kiss.
Juno gets pregnant and decides to give the kid up for adoption to a pair of yuppies. Along the way she’s emotional, but neither depressed nor hysterical; she’s funny but not a put-down queen. She makes her own decisions but loves and respects her parents. Throughout, Page makes her completely real and likeable. The rest of the cast matches her tone perfectly, particularly Michael Cera as the awkward father and Jennifer Garner as the too-tense yuppie adoptive mom.
First-time scripter Diablo Cody gives everyone good moments, and Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking) directs with a quiet gaze that lets the humour emerge from the rhythm of the scenes.
Tone is a big thing with Reitman. He tells us that keeping it consistent is why he took out most of the deleted scenes. They’re worth watching anyway for fun and the way they expand the character.
They’re also the best part of the extras, which tend more toward the love-in than the informative and have an air of cuteness whose absence from the movie itself does so much to increase its appeal.
EXTRAS Director and writer commentary; deleted scenes with optional commentary; actors, director, writer and production docs; gag reel. Widescreen. English, French, Spanish audio. English, Spanish subtitles.