Ellen Page rocked our world in the little-seen Hard Candy
, in which she played MENSA-smart jailbait, scheming to entrap a child molester. Those who saw Candy
(and X-Men 3
, where she did plenty with precious little material) were eagerly anticipating a breakout role somewhere on the horizon. It's safe to say that Juno
qualifies. As the eponymous protagonist, Page plays a knocked-up 16-year-old who opts to go through all three trimesters, then give her newborn to a dysfunctional suburban couple (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner). Expecting indignant, seething parents? J.K. Simmons and Alison Janney are anything but. Further playing against type, Juno actually has feelings for the equally green young father (Superbad
's Michael Cera), which she naturally subverts. Give credit to director Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking
) and first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody for finding the perfect balance of hip snark and genuine affection in this startling success.