I’m not all guns and explosions, y’know. Sometimes I just feel like chilling out, lounging on a chair and affecting a pipe for some reason. Strange then that the titular character from “Juno” likes to do the same thing…
Back to that opening quarter of an hour or so. The thing I didn’t like about it was the fact that everything from the overuse of hipper-than-thou indie tracks to the obnoxious dialogue was unbelievably annoying. I get the feeling the film was expecting me to think “Like OMG! Juno is such a free spirit with her sarcasm, hamburger phone and pipe smoking! She is fo’ shizz zany- she’s sooo like me!” To be honest, I was hit with the “Look! She’s so kooky!” hammer so many times I started to feel a little punch-drunk. However, I started to warm to it after that. After the credits rolled I realised that maybe the film wanted me to feel that way and that it was in on the joke with me, which cheered me up no end.
The film played two nice tricks on me. One of them being the one above and the second was to be found in Jason Bateman’s character. Throughout the film we are made to side with him- after all, he’s a cool guy, he likes horror films and it seems like he’s a bit downtrodden by his control-freak wife. Later in the film- we are betrayed, as Juno is, by the revelation that he doesn’t believe he’s ready for fatherhood. It’s rare to see a film do this sort of thing and it’s really refreshing to see.
There were some really moving scenes too. The scene where Juno tells her parents (J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney) is very well written and brilliantly acted. It’s very warm and gives us an actual insight into the three characters’ relationships. I was slightly disappointed when J.K. Simmons didn’t instantly sprout a flat-top haircut and moustache and start demanding pictures of Spider-Man, however. The most moving scene though is when Juno is comforted by Paulie in the hospital after giving birth. Gone was the snappy dialogue and gone were the increasingly strange quirks that every character just had to have (Orange Tic-Tacs?) and in their place was left something much more believable and endearing.