This year’s Little Miss Sunshine style sleeper hit – Jason Reitman’s feelgood comedy about teenage pregnancy – owes its appeal to the performance of Ellen Page in the leading role. With the circumstances of the conception quickly glossed over with a lingering shot of her dropping knickers, our spunky heroine quickly senses she’s not really cut out for motherhood at 16. But when father Paulie (Superbad’s Michael Cera) turns out to be an airhead jock, adoption seems like the best option. An advert puts Juno in contact with childless couple Mark and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman), but Juno’s predicament gets more complicated as their relationship begins to fray.
Diablo Cody, the ex-stripper who wrote the script for Juno, gives her male characters annoyingly short shrift, but convincingly nails the mindset of a confused teenage girl. Page, so good in paedophile drama Hard Candy, gives a star-making performance, greatly assisted by lively turns from parents Allison Janney and JK Simmons (aka Spider-Man’s Jonah Jameson). As with Thank You For Smoking, director Reitman (son of Ghostbusters director Ivan) never stoops to gross-out or slapstick comedy, making Juno a comedy that makes you laugh out loud, but you can still respect in the morning. It’s the kind of minor miracle every film aspires to be. (Eddie Harrison)
General release from Fri 8 Feb