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Stars: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J K Simmons, Olivia Thirlby

Director: Jason Reitman

This is a sweet movie about Juno (Page), a lovable, but unconventional and very self-possessed 16-year-old who sucks a pipe, calls it as she sees it, and decides to try sex with her best friend (Cera, from Superbad). Naturally she falls pregnant straight away.

Told to prepare for a shock, her father (Simmons) and stepmother (a good film role for once for Janney) accept the news with relative calm, although, after Juno's gone upstairs, Janney laments: 'I was hoping she was expelled or into hard drugs.'

Unable to face an abortion, Juno finds what seems like the perfect adoptive couple in filthy-rich Garner and Bateman, and even bonds with the latter over his love of horror movies and guitar music.

Ultimately, however, it all goes pear-shaped and Juno finds true worth is closer to home. 'You're the coolest person I've ever met,' she tells Cera. 'And you don't even have to try.' 'Actually,' he tells her ruefully, 'I try very hard.'

Despite the good cast, Page is pretty much the whole show with her natural, relaxed delivery of funny lines from a witty, knowing script by Diablo Cody that's frank and funny about teenagers without resorting to too many four-letter words. And, after this and Hard Candy, you can confidently say that Page, at 20, is the best actress of her age around.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
96 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 03 Feb 2008