We watched 'Juno' yesterday - I enjoyed it and laughed embarrassingly in at least a dozen places, but there was one nagging little problem that I only figured out when I got home.
The story is largely divided into two parts: Juno and friend/boyfriend Paulie (and school) and Juno and the adoptive parents of her baby, Vanessa and Mark. The former scenes are overly witty and sardonic - not unlike Knocked Up or Superbad if they had been directed by Wes Andersen, I suppose. The latter part is still clever and snide, but it's heavier and tinged with an anxiety and cynicism that's much more recognizably adult and is entirely absent in the other scenes. Juno (and, too a much smaller extent, her dad) is the only common element.
When the movie ends, each half seems to rely on the other to bail it out: Vanessa and Mark's story ends well in advance of the film's conclusion, which saves us from dwelling on its tragedy, and Juno and Paulie's relationship takes on a sudden emotional weight that seems to have been produced almost entirely by an implicit comparison to Mark and Vanessa's relationship. (This comparison is made by Juno, of course, so as ensure that the viewers aren't entirely responsible for figuring out why the Juno-Paulie situation has a sudden dramatic weight.) And it feels, to some degree, like that weight is unearned. And maybe it is... but, despite myself, I find that the figurative move still seems to work in the end because of Juno. (And Ellen Page, of course, for showing some ridiculous range.) The whole genre exercise that Juno's school friends and family are taking part in may not deserve the emotionally weighty ending, but Juno herself does - and that's enough.