Juno

What it's about:

Offbeat teenager Juno (Ellen Page) has got one up the spout and has to answer awkward questions most girls her age couldn't have to begin to comprehend. Faced with the irreversible, she consults the newspaper classifieds and finds a couple – Vanessa and Mark Loring (Jennifer Garner and Michael Bateman) – to adopt her baby, while she faces her pregnancy with the help of her friends, her family and the baby's daddy, the unassuming Bleeker (Michael Cera).

Watch interview snippets with the actors in the Stook video. (Afrikaans)

What we thought of it:

Juno is a tongue in cheek dramedy that's a force of its own. It's not often that the topic of teen pregnancy and its consequences deviates from a preachy tone and facetiously pokes fun at such a tricky predicament. Ex-stripper and screenwriter Diablo Cody's witty script gives birth to a funny yet touching screenplay worthy of its Academy Award. It may knock the wind out of audiences expecting the regular teen drama on the perils of unprotected sex, but it's definitely worth the sucker punch.

Ellen Page is charming as the nonchalant Juno, whose biting observations and off the cuff criticisms allows the film its adolescent edge. Jennifer Garner's Little Miss Priss routine once again reunites the actress with her overly used frown, but also teaches her a new emotion – quietly restrained maternal apprehension. While Jason Bateman as the seemingly doting husband and Juno's new best friend is rather reserved (even for him), J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney make for wickedly entertaining parents.

Michael Cera (Superbad and Arrested Development) is cashing in on the teen comedy genre one hilarious performance at a time, but might soon find himself typecast as the odd ball nerd. We're not complaining; his gawky impersonations are riotous.

There are moments of sheer brilliance from Jason Reitman's direction, but at times it suffers at the hand of an either inexperienced or inattentive boom operator when a fluffy microphone occasionally drops into scenes. Minor hiccups aside, this teen dramedy worth the watch.

Juno is as much about unplanned teen pregnancy as it is about the relationships affected and new bonds formed by it. You might identify with the sharp-tongued teens who awkwardly navigate their way through choices beyond their maturity level, or with liberal parents quietly nursing their consternation, or even with the cookie-cutter suburban couple desperate to fill their lives with real happiness. Cody and Reitman put these relationships under a microscope in a way that's both original and believable. Highly recommended!

- Megan Kakora

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