Saturday, December 15, 2007

FYC, or How Juno's Jen should garner more love (get it?)

Now blogging from far-away land Colombia.
Posts may be few and far between.

For Your Consideration (A Blog Next Door Style) - Juno
It's my blog and I'll FYC if I want to, FYC if I want to...

It has been a good year for comedies (Hairspray, Superbad, Knocked Up, Waitress, Lars and the Real Girl, Enchanted, as well the as-yet-unseen-by-me ones: Charlie Wilson's War, and The Savages). In come Juno, Jason Reitman's latest movie.
The premise: Juno McGuff (Page), a quick-witted sixteen year old (think Rory Gilmore if she had been a badmouthed hipsterish girl) gets pregnant and decides to give her baby up for adoption to a suburban couple (Garner and Bateman).
The movie - due in part to Cody's dialogue, Reitman's direction and the cast's acting, bristles with great comedic moments that have you doubling over in laughter (anytime Cera walks onscreen in his maroon/gold uniform for example). And while much of the praise for the movie has centered on its two "leading ladies" (Cody and Page) I was not as smitten by either as it seems I should have been. Cody's dialogue is plagued with that 'I need to be cool' factor for too much of the first half of the movie (punctuated also by that 'indie' soundtrack which only worked for me at the end). No one talks like Juno, and that's okay. But Cody invests so much of Juno's character in her inventive one-liners ("If I could just have the thing and give it to you now, I totally would. But I'm guessing it looks, probably like a sea monkey right now, and I should let it get a little cuter") that one wonders whether the eponymous protagonist would have been just as lovable if her quick-wit had been a bit... less quick. I personally liked her quieter moments and more mundane lines ("It all started with a chair..." or "I don't know what kind of girl I am").
That said, Page and Cody create a wonderful character that's hard not to love and put her in a situation where we care for her and by the end of the movie we can't help but smile whenever we she comes onscreen.
But if there's one lady anyone should be trumpeting for, it should be Jennifer Garner who does some of her best work here as Vanessa, a woman so completely sold on the idea of motherhood she can't help but not notice her husband has different plans for the future. Playing up subtler, more nuanced emotions than what we're used to (see the ass-kicking femmes she's played in Alias, The Kingdom and Elektra) Garner is so vulnerable as the yuppie housewife (who wonders whether the baby's room should be custard or cheesecake colour) that she stole the movie for me. A particular deepfelt scene at a mall, where the camera can't help but fix itself on Garner's face as she feels the baby kick before fading to black is one of the movie's more dramatic and emotional moments - a highlight of the movie and one of the few moments where one feels Reitman, Garner and Cody have hit the perfect note.

Check out A Blog Next Door's other FYC campaigns:
Superbad & Knocked Up

1 comment:

POP COLONY said...

It should definitely be nominated for a best cast award at the SAGs. It seriously has all of my favorite people ever! Including a mini Arrested Development reunion!