Juno (2007), directed by Jason Reitman (In God We Trust, Thank You for Smoking) and written by ex-stripper/blogger Diablo Cody, starts with Juno MacGuff, played by Ellen Page (Hard Candy, Mouth to Mouth, An American Crime), walking to a drugstore in a small suburb of Minnesota while drinking a gallon of Sunny Delight juice. She is a 16-year-old burn-out who was named Juno after Zeus’s wife: "She was supposed to be really beautiful but really mean. Like Diana Ross."
Juno uses a particular slang with frequent private jokes, allusions to pop culture and to her preferred indie low-fi bands. After a first sexual encounter with her best friend, track runner Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera, Arrested Development, Superbad), she thinks she might be pregnant, so she takes three pregnancy tests under the sarcastic eye of the clerk, Rollo (Rainn Wilson) who makes a series of inappropriate remarks like, "So what’s the prognosis, Fertile Myrtle?"
When she discovers she's actually pregnant she goes to Paulie's home to give him the news; he reacts predictably, scared about Juno's future decision. His character will appear intermittently throughout the film, always as a loyal, if at times paralyzed, lovable nerd who adores Juno unconditionally, despite of her defiant attitude. And this is a type of role that we are accustomed to seeing in quirky American dramedies lately, a pattern in which atypical male lead and supporting characters are usually written, versus the Hollywood winner-jock-smartass prototype.
In fact, in Juno the only jock who intervenes, Steve Rendazo (Daniel Clark), just serves as a device to make us despise the hypocrisy of the popular cliqués of high school: "Funny thing is that he secretly wants me. Jocks like him always want freaky girls. Girls with horn-rimmed glasses and vegan footwear and Goth makeup." Juno's voice-over continues to reveal to us the understated fascination that popular guys have with loser eccentric girls: "They just won’t admit it, because they’re supposed to be into perfect cheerleaders like Leah." Leah (Olivia Thirlby) is her slightly ditzy blonde friend, completely supportive of Juno when she's needed.
We are also introduced to Juno's working class parents, Mac MacGuff (J.K. Simmons), who works as an HVAC specialist, divorced from Juno's biological mother and remarried to Bren MacGuff (Allison Janney) who works in a manicure beauty salon and is obsessed with dogs. After a hilarious exchange with Su-Chin (Valerie Tianan), an Asian "pro-life" demonstrator in front of the abortion clinic,
Juno: I know this girl who had a huge crazy freakout because she took too many behavioral meds at once. She took off her clothes and jumped into the fountain at Ridgedale Mall...