Friday, April 11, 2008

Juno DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Coming-of-Age Comedy Revolving around Teen Pregnancy Released on DVD

16 year-old Juno (Ellen Page) is a precocious smart aleck who comes to regret her one-night stand with Paulie (Michael Cera), a grateful classmate with not much going for him. For she ends up pregnant by a boy she didn’t love.
With no interest in keeping the baby, she decides to run an ad in the newspaper offering the newborn for adoption, and she eventually settles on Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark (Jason Bateman), a happily-married couple eager to start a family who have found themselves frustrated in that endeavor. Now, the barren wife’s maternal urge conveniently dovetails with Juno’s need to place her kid in an ideal setting.
This is the novel point of departure of Juno, a quirky, coming-of-age teensploit rather reminiscent of Ghost World, another offbeat adventure revolving around a quick-witted, female with a blasé attitude. Set against the jarring candy-colored, Pee Wee Herman-style backdrops, the production has the same surreal wanderlust about it that worked so well in Garden State.
Juno was directed by Jason Reitman, whose Thank You for Smoking was this critic’s #1 pick on the Top Ten List for 2006. And it was written by former stripper Diablo Cody who won an Oscar for a screenplay which fails to differentiate much among its colorful characters in favor of going for the joke, forcing pithy remarks into the mouths of anyone and everyone, even when malapropos.
The upshot is a terminally-clever comedy that’s laced with lots of inspired sardonic humor but can’t quite convince you to take its slowly thickening plot seriously. This is unfortunate, because the production squanders its potential edginess surrounding some surprising developments, such as the sexual tension which arises between Juno and Mark, by always looking for laughs at the expense of substance.
Forget Napoleon, think Juno Dynamite!

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, premarital sexuality and mature themes.
Running time: 96 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
2-Disc DVD Extras: Commentary by director Jason Reitman and scriptwriter Diablo Cody, 11 deleted scenes, gag reel, gag take, cast and crew jam, screen tests, plus several featurettes.

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