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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Juno

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Judy Thorburn

"Juno" - Not The Bundle Of Joy It's Cracked Up To Be

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"JUNO" - NOT THE BUNDLE OF JOY IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Is it just co-incidental or is life imitating art rather than vice versa? Just prior to the movie Juno being released in theatres, a similar scenario of teen pregnancy played out in real life starring Britney Spears younger sister, Jamie Lynn, a sixteen year old who “proudly” announced that she is pregnant and will have the baby, with no plans of marrying the 18 year old father of the child. Was it ancient history when marriage came first and heaven’s forbid any young girl got herself in the family way (as it was once referred to) out of wedlock. It was nothing to be proud of or to announce to the world. My, how morals and family values have declined, which these days seems to be reflected in movie storylines. Just because a film is well acted doesn’t have anything to do with the film’s message. In this case, an unwed pregnancy is handled as if it was just an unfortunate “situation” that some teens go through before moving on with their lives.

Now, I know that Juno is being applauded by many like it is the best thing to come out of Hollywood in years. Give me a break! I don’t see how labeling it a gem or even charming is applicable; not from my point of view. I know I am not the only one who has sees problems with this film on many levels. I can’t condone the flippant treatment of a serious and personal issue that will be seen by easily impressionable young people.

Inhabiting the title role of Juno is Ellen Page, the darling of indie films such as last year’s Hard Candy in which she received rave reviews as a young teen who turns the table on a sexual predator she lures from the internet. Page is a fabulous young actress on her way to deserved stardom, and this, her first starring role in a mainstream film, may well pave the way. However, as good as she is I think her performance and the film as a whole, written by former stripper Diablo Cody (who I am told lends her “voice” and attitude to the sassy lead character) is way overrated with situations and behavior that are not believable.

The story unfolds as Juno, a tomboyish looking, wise cracking 16 year old finds herself pregnant after being bored and deciding to do “it” in a chair with her best friend, the more introverted and geeky Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), a member of her high school’s track team. You would think her dad Mac (J.K. Simmons) and step mom Bren (Alison Janney) would react to the news shocked, upset and even angry. But no, Juno’s parents are happy that she wasn’t doing drugs or getting arrested for something worse. They wind up being the most supportive parents on the planet, with no lecture on morals handed down.

When the option of an abortion goes by the wayside, the idea of picking prospective adoptive parents comes from, of all places, the local Penny Saver with help of galpal Leah, (Olivia Thilby). Of course, that’s where she finds what seems to be the ideal couple, handsome and upscale yuppies, Mark (Jason Bateman) and his wife Vanessa (sensitively portrayed by Jennifer Garner) as if we are to believe they would ever consider advertising for a child in that manner. But, all does not flow so easy in the matter of bonding with the intended couple who are to raise the baby as if he/she were their own, with no strings attached to Juno. Juno develops a close friendship with Mark over a shared love of music, but things go awry when he hits on her.

Now, I am someone who likes quirky films with unconventional characters and Juno definitely fits the bill. I even found myself laughing at some of the witty and clever, though somewhat pretentious, dialogue. But, when all is said and done, I can’t disregard the fact that Juno is not a good role model for young people. This is a character who refers to the growing fetus inside her belly as a “thing”, and can’t wait to get rid of “it” so that she can go on with her life and forget this temporary inconvenience that caused her to get fat. What kind of a message is that to give young girls? The one voice of reason is spoken by a medical technician when Juno is having an ultrasound. The technician is given a heavy handed vocal thrashing by Juno’s stepmom, as if she was the bad one for addressing the truth.

I can’t, for the life of me, see why so many people are raving about Juno or calling it “hip”. There is nothing hip about teen pregnancy especially when it’s depicted with a cavalier attitude.

Please don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate the film. What I hate is the message. Word to the wise, before seeing Juno parental guidance is suggested, in more ways than one.