Friday, December 14, 2007

C.A.R.: Juno

(Capsule Arthouse Reviews are my attempt to better myself and practice movie snobbery by watching less mainstream movies and more independent films. Not a true review, they're mainly my thoughts on various small run films. I still give an opinion about whether the film is worth watching or not, but keep in mind my cinema taste is janky at best. You can also expect mild spoilers so beware.)

Juno is a quirky, darkly humorous film in the vein of Thank You For Smoking and Napoelon Dynamite. It's a film about a teenager who has an unplanned pregnancy and decides to deliver the baby as well as put it up for adoption. The twist is that she goes out "shopping" for the kid's adoptive parents and ends up intertwined in their lives.

The acting in this film is surprisingly good. Yes, Michael Cera plays his usual role: an awkward teenager. (His role in this film is probably his most serious one yet though that isn't saying much.) Jason Bateman is also in his usual role of a supporting character. By far the best performance comes from Jennifer Garner of all people, who apparently can act when she's not busy starring in moremainstream fare. As the titular character, Ellen Page's performance is the glue that holds this film together. She's amazing in this and is able to lend realism to a smart alec teen who is dealing with a situation way above her maturity.

The humor is really hit or miss but to someone who is not quite in sync with popular tastes it works for me. I love quirky/random humor and random pop culture references so this film is perfect for me since it has tons of both. In addition the film also has a heaping of dark/gallows humor which I'm finding I love as I get older.

Unfortunately, not everything is great about this film though. The soundtrack really annoyed me and jarred me out of the movie at points. It's a lot of indie/folk music that I felt didn't really belong in the movie. Or perhaps I just can't appreciate it. Indie music is already a plot point in this film; I didn't need weird folk music over some of the scenes.

I enjoyed the ending to this film as well, which felt genuine and was not a cop out. I especially like how just like Thank You For Smoking, the film doesn't have a storybook ending

I would give Juno a 7.5-8 out of 10, which is good enough to recommend in my book. It's definitely one of the more unique films out there.


Jen said...

Hhahaa, you liked Jennifer Garner? I was totally wondering what Bateman's character was doing still sticking around. But my distaste for her was turned around when the plot took that turn, so I guess that meant she played the role well. I've been against her since the days of Felicity when she was Felicity's romantic rival! LOL.

And you didn't mention the parents! They were awesome!

I still haven't seen Superbad, so I was pretty surprised to see that that Cera kid is kinda adorable.

The homage to all that heavy metal/punk rock got annoying for me too, just as it did when I saw High Fidelity. Eh.

hapanesesuperman said...

All the music references seemed so pretentious to me...and if there's one thing I's being pretentious.

Jennifer Garner totally had the best acting in the entire film. Page's performance is overrated IMO. The 180 turn from quirky smart aleck to crying teen was so quick, I couldn't find myself sympathizing with her.

But Garner? OMG...Michael Cera should've been hugging HER. XD

Binkley said...

Yeah I still stand by my comment about Jennifer Garner. I feel the film makes it sort of obvious 1/2 through that Jason Bateman isn't quite mature enough and that Michael Cera will be by the end of the film.

And how can you not know about Michael Cera? You need to watch Arrested Development, the series that gave him his big break!