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Friday, January 18, 2008


Here's why I like to go to the movies early in the run of a film: I don't like to have preconceived notions. So, it was only mildly problematic that I knew this film, and its star, Ellen Page, were critically acclaimed. This was Roger Ebert's favorite film of the past year. Conversely, it has suffered a certain backlash of perhaps being too cute and clever and trendy - it was 0 for 3 in the Golden Globes! And there was one other antipathetic strain I heard: Juno is about [if you have seen the trailer or the poster, or the cover of the soundtrack, this absolutely CANNOT be a SPOILER] pregnant and 16, and she is, some feel, too glib for that situation.

Carol and I got a babysitter and went to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany to see it anyway. It is a smart and warm comedy, though I can see that in lesser hands, this could have traveled into treacle. As it was, I really enjoyed the film, especially the co-stars Alison Janney (West Wing) as the stepmom, with one particularly great scene with Page; JK Simmons (The Closer; the Spider-Man movies) as the dad, totally credible. Two guys from Arrested Development, Michael Cera as the baby's father and Jason Bateman as the would-be adoptive father, are also strong, though they don't share a scene.

But the real surprise here is Jennifer Garner (Alias) as the would-be adoptive mom. Would it be catty to say that I didn't know she could act? Probably.

The other revelation is the music, much of it by someone named Kimya Dawson, which integrated quite well with the storyline. But the most affecting songs were by Cat Power and by Sonic Youth, oh, and the last song in the movie before the credits; I won't ruin it any further.

So, it may be "overrated" compared with the hype, but but it was a good time at the cinema.
The Ultimate Adventure.


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