starring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman
screenplay by Diablo Cody
directed by Jason Reitman
by Walter Chaw Brutally overwritten, smug, and self-indulgent to no discernible point, Jason Reitman's disappointing Juno is an unfortunate attempt to marry Judd Apatow's sleazy morality plays with a Kevin Smith pop-cultural gabber--the result being a ventriloquism tract in which virgin screenwriter (formerly blogger) Diablo Cody crams so many unlikely gluts of verbiage into so many sterile, undeveloped characters that the whole production is the ultimate act of masturbatory puppetry. The movie would be twice as funny with half as many wisecracks--it's so stuffed that there are long moments of zero interplay as one person or another acts as mute sounding board to whomever's reeling off a Dennis Miller-ism. Red-flag time when a film acts as both main attraction and audience. Ellen Page stars as the titular Juno McGuff, a Soupy Sales-referencing sixteen-year-old who finds herself pregnant by her nebbish boyfriend, Bleeker (Michael Cera). Exactly: What 16-year-old references Soupy Sales? What 66-year-old? Look to something like Heathers for how to write absurdist dialogue--that film along with Clerks the chief antecedents for Juno, which isn't as good as either because it wears its hipster cred like a chip on its shoulder. It's also not very good because even though it's about teen pregnancy, abortion, and adoption, it's about nothing so much as quirky teen romance, revealing itself to be inclined towards mining laughter from dorkiness and thus allaying itself, too (and in the worst possible way), with Napoleon Dynamite.