Juno is one of those movies that was hyped to death by the media, upon release, and therefor could never have lived up to that hype when one finally caught up with it. That being said, Juno is a charming, funny, poignant story of a teenage girl (billed as Ellen Page at that time) who suddenly finds herself pregnant and the father/boyfriend (Michael Cera) not being much help. Now the teenage girl must figure out what is right for her and her unborn child, while she forms a relationship with a Yuppie couple (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) potentially interested in adopting her offspring.
An excellent cast, also including J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney as Juno’s parents, is supported by a good script from Diablo Cody and a quirky, but not too quirky, film style from director Jason Reitman. It can be funny, sentimental and sweet, but also, refreshingly, doesn’t stray too far from the more realistic side of it’s portrayed situation. Not to say it’s perfect, it’s not. Juno’s smart-ass wisecracking starts to grow tiresome about halfway through, but luckily, the film changes tone somewhat, as the birth draws near, and we see less of her acerbic wit. The slow pace both hinders and serves the movie, but as it’s not an action film, that’s not a major problem. No, not worthy of all the hype, but a good movie without a doubt. On a side note…does anyone else feel Jason Bateman is one of the most underrated actors around?
BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY (2021)
Comedy/drama finds small town wife Sue Buttons (Allison Janney) feeling insignificant and ignored, especially as it is her birthday and no one seems to care. Things change when she catches her philandering, money laundering husband Karl (Matthew Modine) cheating on her at a motel and the surprise of her appearance gives him a heart attack. She buries his body and then concocts a wild story about him being missing and possibly kidnapped, to gain attention. When her ambitious local reporter sister (Mila Kunis) seizes the opportunity for a big story and goes on the air with Sue’s yarn, things start to snowball. Be careful what you wish for, as Sue keeps embellishing upon her story to cover the plot holes and she catches the attention of some of Karl’s shady business partners (Awkwafina and Clifton Collins Jr.) and a suspicious detective (Regina Hall).
Flick is directed by Tate Taylor (The Help, The Girl on the Train) from a script by Amanda Idoko and despite strong work from Janney and a really talented cast, it’s a sadly mediocre effort. The film has it’s moments, but never lives up to it’s potential and is kind of dull, when all is said and done. The script never takes full advantage of it’s premise, despite a promising set-up, and the direction by Taylor is surprisingly very by the numbers. Somber film has none of the manic energy it needs to make this a spirited farce, is never engaging enough on a dramatic level and the spurts of Tarantino-esque graphic violence seem out of place. The cast does what it can with the thin material, but even the likes of Wanda Sykes, Ellen Barkin and Juliette Lewis, in addition to the cast members already mentioned, can’t elevate this routine comedy from being anything more than a moderately amusing diversion…and it struggles with that. On top of everything else, it ends exactly as you’d expect something like this to end. Disappointing considering all the talent involved.