Not quite as good as that best picture Oscar nomination would have you believe, but entirely undeserving of its harsh backlash, "Juno" retains all of its tart, foul-mouthed tone on DVD, where it's ready to take its place in the 2007 Accidental Pregnancy Film Festival alongside the differently charming, but no less romantic and funny, "Waitress" and "Knocked Up."
"Juno" may not have the most original of premises, but it's scripted with word-twisting flair by Diablo Cody -- victim of most of the anti-"Juno" blowback, which took on an ugly, misogynistic tone -- and directed with a sure hand by Jason Reitman. As remarkable and revelatory as leading lady Ellen Page is -- she's both touchingly childlike and effectively wise-beyond-her-years -- more award season acting kudos probably could have gone to supporting players including Jennifer Garner, J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney.
While "Juno" is available in a two-disc set, the regular one-disc set is stuffed with a solid assortment of bonus features which mostly echo the playful, snarky tone of the film.
DVD Bonus Features:
The Good: Reitman and Cody -- yes, she actually talks like her characters -- are an appealing duo on the chatty, feature-length commentary. She riffs and drops her absurd pop culture references. He's like the level-headed moderator. It's rare to see a DVD package give so much recognition to a screenwriter, but Cody's also the focus of the adulatory "Diablo Cody is Totally Boss," while Reitman is toasted in the compensating "Jason Reitman For Shizz." [Yes, the titles of some of the featurettes are a little, um, annoying.] Cody and Reitman also do commentary on the 20 minutes of deleted scenes, which include one standout clip of the main character singing an autobiographical song at an open-mic night, plus mention of an eight-minute musical ode to Danny Trejo. Another 22 minutes are dedicated to Page's original screentests, in which the Oscar-nominated star looks like she hasn't slept for a week and utters ample dialogue that didn't make it into the feature. The five-minute gag reel is worth watching for one priceless Page meltdown.
The Bad: "Juno" is a short movie and between all of the featurettes, it feels like the same sequences start being repeated over and over again. Certain interview clips and stories pop up in multiple featurettes and then the Cody-Reitman commentary track recycles a number of the same anecdotes. The story of how "Juno" went from under-the-radar festival darling to mainstream blockbuster and critical favorite was already rehashed to death last fall and this is more of the same. I suspect that most of the backlash against the film was actually generated by the hype rather than what was actually on the screen and for people who were already sick of The "Juno" Story, this may only make things worse.
The Price: $29.98