Ryan Chartrand

Written by titillating blogger and former peep show provocateur Diablo Cody, “Juno” is the story of a 16-year-old girl trying to find out what kind of girl she is while incubating the child of a premeditated sex act.

While the pregnancy is unwanted, Juno can’t bring herself to “nip it in the bud before it gets worse” and decides to find the perfect couple to adopt the baby – preferably one that owns a bass guitar – from a Penny Saver.

From there on out it’s a flood of witty banter and pop-culture references (some of them incorrect: Morgan Freeman was not in “The Bone Collector”) while Juno tries to deal with the whole growing-up-while-being-pregnant thing.

While the plot is not too original – if you don’t believe me, turn on the Lifetime channel – the clever dialogue, soundtrack by a super-cuddly music elitist and subtle-yet-commanding acting brings the tired set-up to life.

Yet that does not necessarily give the movie a passing grade in the believability department. Recently it seems moviegoers are bombarded with a slew of movies that not only say “unwanted pregnancy is totally awesome!” but imply that it will suddenly make your life work out in all the right ways.

In “Knocked Up,” Katherine Heigl’s alcohol-induced, soon-to-be-bundle of joy is greeted with the total support of her family and even helps her receive a promotion at work. Meanwhile, her pot-head baby’s daddy suddenly cleans up his act so they can all live happily ever after.

“Waitress,” starring Keri Russell, faces just as bright an outcome. When Russell’s character decides to have a baby she doesn’t really want, she names a pie after her prenatal disdain. She also starts a steamy love affair and is miraculously bequeathed a quarter million dollars.

“Juno” follows this same train of thought. Her parents are slightly perturbed with the situation but quickly shift into “let’s make this work!” mode and get back on to the rails with the clever comeback express. There are a few bumps along the way, but for the most part, things work out well for Juno and her unborn baby.

Unfortunately, back in reality, this is not the case for a majority of pregnant teens. However, the movie is unpretentious enough that it’s justifiable to excuse the implausibility as a special case.

Flawlessly-skinned Ellen Page pulls off being pregnant and confused without being one-dimensional. She’s quirky, yet thoughtful. She garners our sympathy, but leaves room for us to call her stupid. Page skillfully dissolves Juno from self-assured roustabout to scared little girl in over her head, and we can easily feel her pain without it being delivered to us in a nicely wrapped clichéd package.

The rest of the characters are equally memorable, and Jennifer Garner is even lovable as the high-strung adoptive mommy-to-be. Even when she’s deciding which shade of yellow to paint the nursery – custard or butter cream – you want to hug her and tell her not to worry.

The writing and acting were not the only things carrying this movie; director Jason Reitman really brings the message home through what he decides to focus on. A simple shot of Juno’s bare feet next to Michael Cera’s clad in muddy running spikes will make you fight tears toward the end of the movie.

All in all, Juno is the thought-provoking, heart-warming and hilarious movie it promises to be and is worth the ridiculous $9.50 admission.

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