Juno has been quite the critical darling, so I had pretty high expectations for it. I'm glad to report that it didn't disappoint. The movie follows the title character through an unplanned pregnancy, which she decides to give up for adoption rather than keep or abort. It sounds like kind of a heavy premise but the movie is actually both adorable and funny. The entire cast was just great. The big star, of course, is Ellen Page as Juno, whose offbeat teenage sarcasm and sass was just about perfect. Michael Cera, who plays the unborn baby's biological father, is rapidly becoming one of my favorite young comedic actors, and Jason Bateman, the adoptive father, actually dialed down his normal sarcasm for a much more layered performance. But the real surprise to me was Jennifer Garner. I'm not usually much of a Garner fan, but I can tell you right now that her performance as the adoptive mother will easily make this year's SMAs. She plays a character who desperately wants a child but has been unable to have one, but where a lesser actress might have gone for a lot of hand-wringing and over-emoting, Garner manages to convey some amazingly potent emotion with a few looks that she then tucks away so fast that if you weren't watching, you'd miss them. This is by far the best work I've seen her do. If you're in the market for the kind of movie that will make you chuckle and leave you feeling nice, check this one out.

Viewed: 12/28/2007 | Released: 12/24/2007 | Score: A-

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