What a surprise!

This movie had waaay more going for it than the trailers led me to believe. The story was written by a first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody who, as I recall, used some semi-autobiographical information to create Juno MacGuff, played by Ellen Page ("Hard Candy" and "X-Men"). Juno is wryly witty, loves to wisecrack--almost to a fault--but is blessed with an unexpectedly mature and caring father and stepmother. In fact, if every teenage girl could have a stepmother like Allison Janney ("Strangers With Candy" and "The Hours"), the world would be a better place! The audience actually applauded when she sprang to Juno's defense and put the medical technician in her place!

Director Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking" and "Uncle Sam") wisely balances an acid wit teenager with loving and sensible adults. This movie really does not trash anyone although I give Jason Bateman ("The Kingdom" and "Arrested Development") extra credit for tackling the most conflicted adult role.

If you've seen the trailers you already know that Juno, after an abandoned effort to have an abortion, decides to give up her baby. She replies to an ad in a paper and discovers a successful couple who live in an extremely comfortable house an hour's drive from her home. Jennifer Garner ("Catch and Release" and "Thirteen Going on Thirty") is the wife who clearly yearns for a baby. Jason Bateman is the husband.

Juno is actually a grounded kid. She apologizes to her parents for her "shenanigans" and talks to the baby's father, Paulie Bleeker, played by Michael Cera ("Superbad" and "Arrested Development") before agreeing to put the baby up for adoption. She shows consideration and wisdom in her responses to her predicament, even though it was immaturity that got her into it.

The author and screenwriter, Diablo Cody has a life that should make an excellent movie on its own! She was a part-time stripper, living with her boyfriend until she got a promotion at her "real" job with an ad agency. Once she got a taste of main stream success, she realized it wasn't what she wanted and went to full-time stripping followed by a stint as a phone sex operator. Now she lives in the burbs ("where no one strips unless he or she is taking a bubble bath.") with that same boyfriend who is now her husband. They are raising his daughter, which might explain why the stepmother is so fully realized in the movie.

This is a great story, a great script, great actors and a memorable film. I recommend it. (And I got a bright orange t-shirt at the preview!)