It’ll be interesting to see if Ellen Page’s career can weather the legacy of Juno MacGuff, or if that iconic role will force her to play smart-ass teens well into her adult years. Though this Canadian film was made before she became a poster girl for mall misfits, it’s easy to see why it’s getting a release in the States now. As Tracey Berkowitz, Page is called on to steer viewers through a sea of dark quirk populated by caricatured villains: abusive but absurd parents, high-school fashionistas, a clueless transsexual psychiatrist, the cute emo boy who’s damaged goods. There’s a chance to show off steely glances and bruised, confused looks, but what’s the go-to weapon in Tracey’s arsenal? Snarky one-liners (“I don’t cry over spilt milk…I don’t even drink milk, because I’m lactose intolerant”), delivered in Page’s flat whateversville cadence.
Though the actor’s mastery of sarcastic acidity is calcifying into shtick, her line readings aren’t as obnoxious as director Bruce McDonald’s formal gimmick, which is to break up scenes into split-screen compositions that replay events from different angles, mess up chronology, etc. All this proves is that watching a poorly executed scene from 19 perspectives is worse than watching it once in an unbroken frame. Honest to blog.