"Juno" * 1/2

I sincerely wanted to love this movie-I mean, as of this writing, it had gotten 19 out of 20 positive Rotten Tomatoes (RT) reviews. A writer to Roger Ebert's answer man column even mentioned that it received a long standing ovation at the end at the Toronto Film Festival screening. So, the only negative review so far on RT is by a "cream-of-the-crop" reviewer Kyle Smith (film critic for The New York Post). After screening it last night, I was extremely curious as to what he had to say, because, I absolutely HATED THIS MOVIE-and for all the reasons he, Christian, and EB (who posted comments to Kyle's review-as did I) have expounded. Their points are totally, excuse the archaic expression, right-on. And, to mention this film in the same breath as "Knocked-up" is ludicrous beyond words. Wow, I didn't know that the subject of a 16 year old pregnant girl could be so light and frivolous! Besides that, nothing in this film is real or funny. I've never seen so many annoying characters in one film. I was literally cringing when it appeared that the 30ish Jason Bateman character was possibly making a play for the very pregnant and very young Juno. Oh, and how about ditching Jennifer Garner to live out his dream of being a comic loving rock star? PULLEEESE!!! A very disappointing 2nd film by Jason Reitman, after his brilliant debut with "Thank You For Smoking". Also, another annoying aspect of this mess is the promotional tactic dreamed up by Fox Searchlight. In order to drum up support they are offering a contest to all who attended the screening by offering additional free screenings and the person who obtains the most "points" receives their own private screening with cast members and a free guitar. They even gave away free t-shirts to everyone (different collector t-shirts given away at each screening). I asked one of the helpers there why the promotion was so ambitious and I was told the studio wanted to create another "Napoleon Dynamite". Good luck! That film at least made it on its own without the in-your-face promotion this one is attempting. I can't imagine sitting through this one again. I want those 96 minutes back!!!

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