Sun January 7, 2007
About perfect in the mixture . . .
By John DeSando, WCBE's It's Movie Time
"Can't we just like kick this old school. You know, like I stick the baby in a basket, send it your way, like Moses and the reeds?" Juno MacGuff
The teen argot is all there: "Totally, "like," etc. But the overflow of humanity is what you may not find even in such similar films this year as Waitress and Knocked Up, in which the knocked up ladies are no shrinking violets but the advanced wave of feminists who will have their baby with heads held high, and weak men stand back.
The estimable actress Ellen Page (Juno) holds the screen as if she had it in a full Nelson with witty dialogue and one liner's to make Chris Rock envious, such as when Juno says, "As far as boyfriends go, Paulie Bleeker is totally boss. He is the cheese to my macaroni" and "You should've gone to China, you know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events." The unreal element of this wit is that very few humans, much less a sixteen-year old girl, could ever be this witty, but, then, this is art, and elevated language and image are what I go to movies for (besides keeping my day job as a critic).
The film seems to touch on every issue that could enter into the world with a teen pregnancy but none more poignant than Juno's dad (J. K. Simmons) and step mom (Allison Janney) offering sober reactions at the news tempered with reservoirs of love, about perfect in the mixture. Any teen would hope to have such caring parents.
The tensions surrounding a potential adoption and the couple, not Juno and Paulie, who must go through their own birth as potential parents are real and dramatic, the ingredients that with witty dialogue make a complete comedy/drama experience?move over Knocked Up, this almost sequel is pregnant with award potential.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's It's Movie Time, which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com