And now, as a teen experiment gone awry, there's Juno MacGuff as created by writer Diablo Cody and brought to life by director Jason Reitman. Juno is funny and smart and pretty, but she's not one for any serious emotion. Juno is that person that whenever there's any kind of real "moment" about to happen, she'll kill it with cleverness. God help the person who kisses Juno goodnight at the door. She'll point out the right time when you should kiss her, make some reference to a really good kiss from some movie that only a handful of people know and then ask whether the evening was really good enough to warrant a goodnight kiss and then if the kiss should involve a tongue or not. By the time she actually got around to kissing, the guy would no doubt be halfway down the street.
Juno was not without its enjoyment however. There are some very funny moments, most of them I had already seen from the trailer. The quick scene between Juno and Rollo (Rainn Wilson) the store clerk was very funny and being an advertising guy, I loved the scene where Mark Loring (Jason Bateman) is writing a jingle for a new 'brunch' type cereal. And the reference to giving away Chinese babies like they were ipods was definitely not lost on this guy. But most of the time, I felt this movie was trying a bit too hard to be a bit too quirky. From the Wes Anderson-like shots of Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) placing deodorant between his legs and putting on his tube socks to the soundtrack that tries to be unique and unobtrusive in its selections, but still ends up just getting in the way. And what kind of world exists where the popular cheerleader and the bizarre nerdy girl are best friends?
But unlike Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Breakfast Club, Juno has no soft center. When you get past the skeptical crust of its characters, you'll just find more crust. In an effort to take some steps forward on behalf of teens everywhere, Juno has actually taken several steps back by portraying its main character as a young woman unable or just unwilling to show true emotion. If Juno would have been a teen romp the likes of Superbad, I would have been fine with it. But it wasn't. It was a movie that wanted to have a heart, but was too damn scared to show it.