Doane Gregory/Fox Searchlight Pictures
Juno MacGuff: Yeah, I'm a legend. You know, they call me the cautionary whale.
Juno MacGuff: 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?
Few movies have been hyped like Juno. The Little Miss Sunshine of this movie season? I don't think so. I didn't like it at all and I've been asking myself why.
All the critics loved it, but I never listen to them and I don't want anyone even listening to me about this or any movie.
One reason I didn't like Juno, is that it trivialized a very important subject-teen pregnancy. I especially disliked how the movie trivialized abortion. Planned Parenthood is the exact opposite of the clinic in the movie. Oh well, it is a movie and the great thing about movies is they can make anything happen they want.
The characters were appealing, relatively speaking. Juno MacGuff(Ellen Page), a sixteen year old, is the world's most clever bored teenager. Juno and her nerdy boyfriend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), decide sex is better than video games and she ends up pregnant. This is essentially all we know on the pregnancy issue.
Then we go into this period of telling the parents who are at thesame time accepting and clever in an odd sort of way. Juno’s father (J. K. Simmons) is a heating and air conditioning repair guy who is on occasion a common sense therapist even if he doesn't know it. Her step-mother(Allison Janney) is equally clever, and witty with her comments. She is a manicurist, and has a nail salon. (And, does no one but me think it's a little odd that some writer came up with a comment from a teenage protester at the abortion clinic, who is Asian, that the fetus has fingernails?). The step-mother verbally abuses a hospital technician who is trying to be empathic to Juno; and, we think that is funny? Give me a break.
The most empathic character to me(and I'm sure that I'm the only one in the Universe who sees it this way) is Mark (Jason Bateman). He and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner)are the potential adoptive parents of Juno's baby. Garner is very good,and, for the story line, anal retentive to the max. Bateman goes from cool character to cad in milliseconds. A buddy of mine said he is merely a Peter Pan type, never growing up. This is the second time of late when I have seen men like Bateman castigated simply because they didn't want to be fathers. I actually read one critic's account that Bateman's character was a pedophile.
Here's the basic scene with the Bateman character: Juno shows up unannounced while Bateman is home alone. They chat about music-lots of symbolism going on. She shows up one more time and literally appeals physically to him for comfort. They hug. He awkwardly announces his plans to leave his wife. Why? Why at that point? We don't know, but his character is forever trashed.
With a slight bit of psychobabble, I think one of the reasons that I feel so strongly about this is something that only recently happened to the son of a friend. This isn't subjective but fact as I have been fairly involved in the situation from afar having read the official documents-
My friend's son, a ne're-do-well 21 year old, and his buddies, who are all into dope, are having a party. At some point, a sixteen year old shows up. According to all involved, sex is way down the food chain. The uninvited female sixteen year old says she is 18, nobody thinks anything about it. At some point during the night when all the dope heads are passed out, she climbs into bed with the ne're-do-well son of my friend. They have sex.
The girl goes home and when confronted by the stepfather concocts a story of rape, sex and all related issues. My friend's son is jailed. The girl recants the story and admits it was her fault. Regardless, this makes no difference. She was sixteen and under age. My friend's son gets 3-6 years for being stupid. Like the Bateman character, the young man's life is forever trashed.
The book's and screenplay author, Diablo Cody, may be the best story by making a movie of her life. She was a stripper.