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The Vault: Juno (2007)

Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) doesn't take anything off of anyone. Her befuddled father Mac (J.K. Simmons), her sometimes prickly stepmother Bren (Allison Janney), or the jive-talking convenience store clerk (Rainn Wilson). Her buddy Leah (Olivia Thirlby) is a girl turned on by corduroy jackets and bald patches. Her unique lifestyle implies a snarky teen, but the truth is much different, she's ironic but insecure.

Paulie (Michael Cera) is enlisted in an experiment involving a life experience and a comfy chair that, of course, results in Juno's pregnancy. Pondering her options of whether or not to keep the child, Juno visits to the local clinic and changes her mind about aborting the child (and keeps the movie rolling along).

With a full head of steam, Juno embarks on carrying the child and remain a full-time high school student. First things first, she needs to find adoptive parents for the child. Cue best friend Leah with a copy of the PennySaver and a quick comment to go along with it "desperately seeking spawn." Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) seem like the perfect couple to raise the child. Mark is the laidback composer for commercials and Vanessa is the career-oriented "adult" in the relationship. Her visits to the Loring household create fissures and things with Paulie have gotten more intense than she anticipated.

While the dialogue for teenagers and parents is distinctively "indie", but the characters are treated authentically as expected by Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody. Juno's revelation to her parents that she is pregnant could have turned into a snipe match, but instead Simmons and Janney infuse the scene with warmth and some unexpected laughs.

The plot moves along as expected, but the real insight of Juno is the actress playing her. Ellen Page is a relative newcomer to lead parts (Hard Candy) and proves to be a lead with the comedic timing of an actress twice her age. Outside of the bravado she exhibits in her spit-fire retorts, she is still a teenager with child. Yet she proves that she is more grown up than most of those around her.

At the end of the day the casting of the unblinkingly naive Michael Cera, the snap, crackle and pop of Cody's original dialogue, or the opening music by Barry Louis Polisar all could have collaborated into a mix of disgust toward the film, but it all blends refreshingly well.

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