Thursday, December 13, 2007

Teen pregnancy is easy, honest to blog!

I saw Juno tonight, and though it wasn't necessarily worth the $11.75 I paid at the Union Square Regal, it was probably worth about $8.75 which is the cost of say, a medium popcorn.

Michael Cera was his usual adorable self, fumbling around awkwardly in supershort gold gym shorts for the words to express his feelings for badass Ellen Page. It didn't even bother me that he played the exact same character that he played in both Superbad and Arrested Development. That's probably because when I met him in Union Square over the summer he acted exactly like George Michael/Evan/Bleeker. I wish I could get paid to "act" as myself. You can't blame him; I mean, fucking look at his smile:Anyway, the thing I found strange about Juno is the ease with which they navigated the topic of teen pregnancy. So I'm going to give you a recap (SPOILER ALERT) of how different characters in the movie handled Juno's pregnancy news, and then tell you how real people would react in real life. Because we live in the real world, people. Not movieland.

Juno's Dad: I'll support you whatever you do. I just thought you were the kind of girl that knew when to say when.
My Dad: Are you fucking crazy?! I can't believe you're pregnant! I'm calling your mother and having her take you to the clinic right away. This is such an embarrassment to the family! (cue crying) How can you put your family through this???

Juno's Stepmom: Okay well we have to keep this baby healthy. I'll get some prenatal vitamins, and schedule an appointment at the doctor so we can see how far along you are.
My Stepmom: While you're passing by the kitchen to head up to the bathroom to puke some more, can you get me another glass of wine? Thanks hun.

Juno's Friend: Wait, honest to blog? (Ed. Note: This is an actual quote. I know.) Is this, for real for real? Like, you're pregnant?
My Friends: Just make sure he helps you pay for the abortion. Um, can you not hog the J? Thanks.

I also didn't like Jason Bateman's character at all. Maybe I'm spoiled by his amazing charm and wit in Arrested Development, but he seriously got the short end of the stick in this movie. When he admits to Juno that he wants to divorce his wife Vanessa (played by Jennifer Garner, who I thoroughly dislike), she completely freaks out about how that's a shitty move and she wants the baby to enter a home that isn't "broken like everyone else's." As a child of divorce, I understand her reasoning, but I don't think Bateman's character should have been cast in such a negative light for leaving Vanessa. They weren't in love, and it would have been worse for the kid had he stayed and been unhappy. They would have tried to use the baby to fix their shoddy marriage, which doesn't end up working. Ever. So even though by the end Vanessa ends up with the baby and Juno and Bleeker play guitar on a wooded suburban street and the high school track team runs by as a metaphor for a change in both season and feeling, I still think Mark (Bateman) doesn't deserve to be made into such an asshole. He just wanted to be a rockstar, man.

Also, I think that to some people who have a very low tolerance for snark, Page's Juno might be a little over the top. I think Ellen Page is amazing; her performance in Hard Candy in 2005 was one of the most chilling and inspiring performances by an actress her age in a long time. I think she has the potential to be something really great; perhaps the antidote to the Lindsays and Britneys of the world. But if she's not careful they're going to make her into an indie darling, and once you're marketed that way, you're just not that indie anymore. (I'm looking at you, Chloe Sevigny)

-Jess

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