Juno is one of those rare films where the movie is so good in every respect from the witty dialogue, to the entire ensemble cast, to the development of each character that you wish every movie could affect you in the same way.
Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is sixteen years old and has recently found out she’s pregnant. To be sure, she takes three separate pregnancy tests, but the result is still the same. Her sometimes-boyfriend Paulie (Michael Cera) is floored by the news, which is understandable, considering that they only had sex once. Juno quickly shoots down the idea of an abortion after sitting in the clinic, and makes the decision to give birth to the child and then try to find adoptive parents. After revealing her news to her father Mac (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother Bren (Allison Janney), she finds the perfect couple – childless yuppies Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner). Or, at least, so it seems. While Vanessa is certainly gung-ho about her destiny to be a mother, Mark seems fixated on reliving his days as a wannabe rock star.
What really makes this movie tick is the originality and believability behind the characters in a movie that is classified as a teen-coming-of-age-comedy. Too often in teen comedies, we are thrown the parent stock character. The parent is frequently uptight or overly righteous, and often dismissive of any of the teenager’s decisions, no matter how logical the teenager’s solution may be. After years of watching these kinds of films, I had already envisioned Mac immediately thundering out of the room in search of a shotgun while demanding to know who the father was. In contrast, when Juno finally confronts her parents about her pregnancy, she’s met with initial shock (understandably), but immediately after, she’s met with support. “Did you see that coming?” Mac says after Juno has left the room. “Yeah,” Bren responds, “but I was hoping she was expelled, or into hard drugs.” Humorous parents in a teen movie? Quite novel, indeed.