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Perfect anti-dote to those January blues

PUBLISHED: 15:34 30 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:30 01 July 2010

JASON Reitman s second offering shows the director continuing the line in smart satire he started with his debut Thank You for Smoking.

Juno

Cert 12A

JASON Reitman's second offering shows the director continuing the line in smart satire he started with his debut Thank You for Smoking.

The offbeat teen-comedy is being touted as this year's Little Miss Sunshine and has built up a strong buzz since its festival screenings and US release last year and the hype can only get bigger following last week's news that 20-year-old Ellen Page is in the running for a best actress Oscar.

Tuned-in teen Juno Macguff (Page) is 16, pregnant and perplexed.

Her wet-behind-the-ears boyfriend Paulie Bleaker (Michael Cera) is in a similar state of confusion, after all they only did it once.

After giving up on the idea of an abortion when she finds out her offspring already has fingernails Juno owns up to her dad (J.K. Simmons) and stepmum (Alison Janney) and its decided that the unborn child will be given up for adoption.

The young girl then sets about finding parents for her progeny but instead of graphic designers who "dress awesome and rock out on bass guitar" she gets the Lorrings, a bland middle-American yuppie couple.

Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) is tightly wound corporate type and husband Mark (Jason Bateman) is laid back jingle-writer who works from home in his messy back room studio.

Juno clashes with neat-freak Vanessa but sees potential in musician Mark and so the deal is done.

Cera is superb as the timid Bleaker and captures his vulnerability with an assured touch as he shuffles and squirms through the proceedings.

But the film is held together by a hugely charismatic performance by Page who owns scene after scene with her combination of sarcastic, sassy dialogue and spades of teen attitude.

Smart without being smart-alecky and sweet without being saccharine Juno is the perfect antidote to the January blues.

* Juno opens in cinemas Friday.

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