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Film / Juno

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"The best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with."
Mac MacGuff

Juno is a 2007 dramedy film directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. It stars Elliot Page, Michael Cera, J. K. Simmons, Allison Janney, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Olivia Thirlby.

After having sex with her friend Paulie Bleeker (Cera), sixteen-year-old Juno MacGuff (Page) finds out that she is pregnant. After confronting her parents (Janney and Simmons), and considering having an abortion, Juno decides to give her baby up for adoption. Looking in the local newspaper, she finds a couple whom she deems to be the perfect parents — Vanessa and Mark Loring (Garner and Bateman).

Upon meeting the Lorings, though they look like they live a charming life, Juno sees the couple may not have it all together. This causes her to re-examine the relationships in her own life, and wonder if any kind of love can really last a lifetime.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Juno gains unwanted affection in the form of Mark Loring, the reluctant, deadbeat Manchild who is the soon-to-be adoptive father of her baby.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Despite being angry about the situation, when he finds out Paulie Bleaker is the father, Juno's dad says he didn't know the kid had that in him. Leah agrees while smirking and laughing.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: References the trope, but subverts it (Popular guy Steve Rendazo seems to find Juno more attractive even if he chooses to date the cheerleader types).
  • Ambiguous Ending: Is Juno truly happy with giving her son up to Vanessa? Is Vanessa up to the task of raising him? Both questions are left up in the air.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: A poster of the Hebrew alphabet on Paulie's wall is the only clue. Jason Reitman points out a Bar Mitzvah certificate on it in the commentary.
  • An Aesop: Not so much "Teen Pregnancy sucks" (which pretty much goes without saying) as...
    • A true love will stick with you no matter what happens... including getting pregnant as a teenager.
    • There is no perfect formula for a happy family. Just about every character has family problems (divorce, step-parents etc.), yet none of them are depicted as broken or troubled because of it.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The credits show a rotoscoped Juno strolling to the drug store for a pregnancy test.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Despite what the ditzy Su-Chin says, fetuses wouldn't have fingernails that early in the pregnancy.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: At the beginning of the movie, Juno is seen drinking large amounts of Sunny D. Large amounts of Vitamin C (found in Sunny D) was considered a home remedy to induce abortion of an early pregnancy.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: On paper, it would appear that Su-Chin was supposed to be portrayed this way. In practice, she speaks with no accent whatsoever, making her bad grammar just seem... odd.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: In-Universe; Juno shouts "Thunder Cats are goooooo!" to Mac as she goes into labor, although the correct quote is either "Thunder Cats hoooooooo!" or "Thunderbirds are go!"
  • Beat: Used to enforce the awkward mood in some of the scenes. Notably, the script actually refers to the moment after Mark suggests that he isn't ready to father Juno's baby as "a long hideous beat".
  • Betty and Veronica: Though unwanted on Juno's part, Paulie (the Betty) and Mark (the Veronica) fall in love with Juno. Paulie wins.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Juno yells one after Mark reveals he is leaving Vanessa.
  • Blaming the Victim: Bren tells Juno that she’s at fault for being friends with Mark because he’s married. This not only implies that men and women can’t be platonic friends but, more importantly, also implies that if this grown man has sexual intentions towards her 16-year-old daughter then it’s a teenage girl’s job to not tempt him further.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Juno is in denial about being pregnant even when taking three pregnancy tests and seeing plus signs on each of them.
      Juno: The little pink plus sign is so unholy.
    • Juno also lies about vomiting in her stepmother's urn and shifts the blame on her younger half-sister Liberty Bell.
  • Book Ends: As Juno notes in her voiceover, the film's main story begins and ends with a chair — beginning with the armchair in which she and Bleeker had sex, and ending with a rocking chair in her baby's nursery at Vanessa's house.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In an early sequence, Juno claims that Steve Rendazo, a popular jock that regularly torments her, secretly wants her, as she represents the "freaky girls" he really pines for instead of the cheerleaders they stereotypically pursue. By the end of the movie, when she reunites with Bleeker and the two publicly make out, the film cuts to Steve looking away in shame and jealousy.
    • The repeated insistence that having sex wasn't Paulie's idea; even Juno's stepmother states it, and Paulie is thoroughly confused by the notion that it wasn't his idea.
    • At one point, Bren confronts Juno about allegedly vomiting a blue Slushee into her prized urn; she did do this, but she shifts the blame to her half-sister Liberty Bell. Later on, the two come to verbal blows about Juno hanging out with Mark; as Juno leaves, she deliberately dumps another blue Slushee into the urn.
    • When Juno and Mark are discussing baby names, Juno tells Mark she was named after Zeus' main wife, who "was really beautiful but really mean". Later, when Juno is fighting with Paulie in the hallway about being pregnant, he says to her "Like I would marry you! You'd be the meanest wife ever".
  • Buffy Speak: Much of the dialogue in the movie.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Juno several times, illustrating her naive, short-sighted worldview and how much of a kid she really is.
    • As Juno is telling her parents that she is pregnant:
      Mac: Who is the kid?
      Juno: The-the baby? I don't really know much about it other than, I mean, it has fingernails, allegedly.
      Bren: Nails, really?
      Juno: Yeah!
      Mac: No, I mean, who's the father, Juno?
    • Also occurs when Juno first meets with the Lorings and their lawyer:
      Gerta Rauss: So how far along are you?
      Juno: I'm a junior.
  • Coming of Age Story: As the film centers around Juno's pregnancy, it follows her learning hard truths about love and relationships that force her to grow out of her original lens of viewing the world.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Fearing she might be pregnant from a one-night-stand, Juno drinks two gallons of Sunny D and takes three pregnancy tests (and they all come back positive, much to the store clerk's amusement).
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Surprisingly averted. Though he's understandably annoyed that he got her pregnant, Juno's dad doesn't seem to have any real qualms about Juno dating Paulie. If anything, he seems impressed that Paulie was virile enough to get anyone pregnant. While he does still grumble that he wants to punch him "in the wiener" next time he sees him, he clearly doesn't mean it (and seems to agree with Bren's point that it was very unlikely Paulie's idea).
    • On the other hand, Paulie's mother doesn't like Juno.
      "She's just... different."
  • Deconstruction: The movie is one for an adult being a Manchild and One of the Kids. Mark at first seems nice enough; he plays guitar with Juno, shows off vintage comics he collects and makes friends with her family easily. It turns out that Mark isn't ready to shelve his dreams of being a rockstar or willing to be a father, but he's too cowardly to admit it to Vanessa until the climax. What's more, he hits on Juno, a minor, and expects her to be happy that he's leaving Vanessa and wants to keep hanging out with her. Unsurprisingly, Juno shuts him down and renews her friendship with Vanessa.
  • The Ditz:
    • Leah comes the closest, though she does help Juno, proving she isn't totally useless, like when she suggests that Juno check the Pennysaver for adoption ads.
    • Also Su-Chin, who believes that fetuses have fingernails early in the pregnancy.
  • Driven to Suicide: Played for Laughs. Juno buys some rope to make a noose around a tree to hang herself with. But she ends up eating the rope instead as it's actually candy rope licorice. Later, she tells her friend Leah that she's at suicide risk because of her indecision about her unplanned pregnancy.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Juno and Bleeker's sex scene opens with a shot of her dropping her cherry print briefs.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite their brief fight over Juno being close friends with Vanessa's husband Mark, Ren still loves Juno as her own and assists her during her childbirth, even defending Juno when a nurse is rude to her.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: When considering an abortion, Juno initially plans on going to Women Now "because they help women, now."
  • Face–Heel Turn: Mark. He spends the first half of the movie as "the cool adult" compared to the more uptight Vanessa, and Juno forms a close friendship with him. However, he leaves Vanessa just as she's about to adopt Juno's baby, and comes off as an irresponsible deadbeat dad. The only good things that Mark does is admit that he doesn't want to fight Vanessa and accept working with a lawyer to make their divorce "collaborative".
  • A Friend in Need: When Juno is in trouble, Leah drops everything to help her. She recommends an abortion clinic that doesn't require parental consent, prepares to drive her home after the procedure, recommends and helps her look up Pennysaver adoption ads when she decides to give up her baby for adoption, sits with her when the latter announces what happened to her parents, and stays with her in the hospital through a very painful labor.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the Mall scene when Vanessa first feels the baby kick, she tells Juno " I felt him" even though the gender hadn't been revealed yet. "He" is used to refer to a person with an unknown sex i.e. "They". Eventually Juno gives birth to a boy.
    • Juno's disgust over Leah's crush on their 40-year-old science teacher Keith foreshadows her appropriate grossed out reaction when Mark puts the moves on her and announced he is leaving Vanessa.
  • Full-Name Basis:
    • Paulie Bleeker is frequently referred to by his full name.
    • It's always Katrina de Voort, who smells like soup; her whole house smells like soup.
  • Funny Background Event: Juno mentions that her friend Leah is into teachers, specifically Keith. In Leah's bedroom you can see a picture of Keith pasted onto a topless man, and see many other pictures of older men.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Vanessa, apparently.
  • Golden Moment: When Juno asks her father if two people can always love each other. It works.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Juno changes her mind about getting an abortion. It is her initial decision, but she drops the idea while in the abortionist's waiting room. After hearing Su-Chin say that the unborn have fingernails (which they don't just yet), she's sitting in the waiting room and sees people doing various things to/with their nails and runs away in a panic. In the commentary, the director mentions that hearing about the fingernails and noticing them for the first time sort of humanized the baby for her. Though interestingly, aside from Su-Chin's protest, abortion isn't treated as evil or wrong by the characters. Though Juno ultimately decided against it, it's clear that she'd have had the love and support of her friends and family either way.
  • Good Parents: Juno's parents react this way when she sits them down and tells them she's pregnant. Her dad says after she and Leah leave that he would prefer drugs or expulsion to be pregnant, and Brenda notes she didn't know Junebug was "sexually active," implying she was long-overdue for The Talk. They both say that if Juno wants to go through with the adoption, they want to meet the adoptive parents and their lawyer, to make sure there's nothing weird. Brenda also says no more secrets, Juno needs to see a doctor and take neonatal vitamins to make sure that she and her baby are healthy. They also need to figure out where she'll schedule the delivery.
  • Good Stepmother: Brenda is Juno's primary maternal figure thanks to her mother leaving and maintaining very little contact. She can be stern but NEVER mean/cruel and she clearly loves Juno. She stands up for her multiple times in the film and makes sure she takes care of herself. Juno can be flippant with her but no more than any other teen ever is with a parent.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Juno filling Paulie's mailbox with orange Tic-Tacs.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Juno denies being in love with Paulie but hearing that he is taking another girl to the prom makes her upset.
  • Happily Adopted: The ending at least tries to imply that this is the case for Juno's child who was adopted by Vanessa.
    • Though there's no official adoption, Juno and her stepmother Brenda have elements of this; Brenda is as protective and supportive of Juno as if Juno were her biological child (even referring to her as "my kid" in one scene), and Juno seems to see Brenda as a Parental Substitute for her own Missing Mom.
  • Henpecked Husband: Mark. The film examines this more closely as it goes on, asking whether Mark is really as poor and put-upon as he seems, or if this is the reasonable consequences of his Manchild behavior.
  • Hipster: Juno, Mark and to a lesser extent, Leah.
  • Jerkass: Mark. Also, the ultrasound technician who goes off on a rant about teen pregnancy and basically says Juno would be a terrible mother. (Juno wasn't planning to keep the baby anyway, but is still indignant that the technician would assume all that just based on her age.)
  • Just Friends: What Juno believes she is with Mark when hanging out with him and bonding over music and films. Unfortunately, Mark wants to take things further, which Juno absolutely does not reciprocate.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Juno has sex with Paulie once and gets pregnant; Vanessa and Mark try for five years without any success.
  • Living in a Furniture Store:
    • Averted with the MacGuff household, which has a realistic amount of knickknacks and clutter for a working class family, and with Bleeker's room.
    • Played straight with Mark and Vanessa's house. Except for Mark's room, which is full of old records and musical paraphernalia and is kind of messy in a sweet way, their home is perfectly arranged and themed in white, beige and glass. After the adoption, Vanessa's night table acquires an appropriate layer of wadded tissues and baby formula. Vanessa is implied to have an orderly life without much 'clutter'. What better way to symbolize that than to have a house with not too many small objects left lying around?
  • Mailbox Baseball: In a deleted scene, Leah uses a baseball bat to hit the mailbox of the girl Bleeker asked to the prom while Juno drives her in the van.
  • Mama Bear: Bren supports Juno through her pregnancy in ways including commending her for deciding to bring the baby to terms, putting her on a healthy diet, and turning surprisingly aggressive when the ultrasound nurse makes a passing comment on teenage pregnancy. It's pretty awesome and heartwarming.
    Bren: What is your job title exactly?
    Nurse: I'm an ultrasound technician, ma'am.
    Bren: Well, I'm a nail technician and I think we both ought to just stick to what we know.
    Nurse: Excuse me?
    Bren: Oh, you think you're so special because you get to play Picture Pages up there? Well, my five-year-old daughter could do that and let me tell you, she's not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed. So why don't you go back to night school in Mantino and learn a real trade?
    (technician shuts up and leaves)
  • Manchild: Mark's fear of commitment to adopting a child with his wife comes from his more selfish fear that doing so will get in the way of his dream of being a "real" musician, which to him means living in lofts and pretending to be an edgy punk rocker. It's worth nothing that, like Juno and her peers, he's definitely a hipster, but the film makes it clear that while those attitudes are fine for teenagers and 20-somethings, it makes adults look pathetic. It's implied that part of the reason he's so eager to be friendly with Juno is that being pals with a sixteen-year-old makes him feel younger.
  • Meaningful Name: Juno was the Roman goddess of childbirth.
  • Minnesota Nice: Not as over-the-top as some examples, but Juno and pretty much all of the people who she interacts with are basically nice and understanding. Even when she goes to the abortionist, her protesting classmate doesn't make that big a deal about it, only telling her that fetuses have heartbeats and fingernails and then doing nothing else.
  • Missing Mom: Juno's parents are divorced and she lives with her father, having no contact with her mother except for an inexplicable cactus every Valentine's Day. Mostly averted, though, since her stepmother largely fills the "mom" role.
  • A Mistake Is Born: When Juno conceives a child with her insolvent boyfriend, she nearly terminates the pregnancy. However, she has second thoughts and decides to birth the baby and give it up for adoption instead.
  • Mood Whiplash: A lighter music montage late in the movie was cut in order to avoid this due to it being right after Mark leaves Vanessa.
    • The scene where Juno is discussing comic books and dancing with Mark shifts directly to Mark's announcement that he is going to leave Vanessa and wants Juno to come with him.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: How Juno wants to handle the adoption at first.
    Juno: Can't we just kick this old school? I have the baby, put it in a basket and send it your way, like Moses and the reeds?
    Mark: Technically, that would be kicking it Old Testament.
  • Morning Sickness: Juno vomits into her stepmother's urn due to a combination of her pregnancy and drinking a very large Slushee.
  • No Antagonist: A few characters are briefly antagonists on specific points (e.g. Mark when he suddenly changes course on the adoption), but there isn't one for the overall story.
  • Noodle Incident: Some time ago, Juno took one too many behavior medications.
    Juno: That's a wise choice. 'Cause I knew this girl, she had this, like, crazy freak-out, 'cause she took too many behavioral meds at once and she just, like, ripped off her clothes and dove into the fountain at Ridgedale Mall and was like, "Blah! I am a kraken from the sea!"
    Su-chin: I heard that was you.
    Juno: Well, it was good seeing you, Su-chin.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: When she first meets the adoptive parents, pregnant 16-year-old Juno asks for a Maker's Mark to drink.
    Mac: She's kidding. June-bug has a wonderful sense of humor — just one of her many genetic gifts.
  • One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: The premise.
  • Papa Wolf: Juno's dad mutters he's going to kick Paulie Bleaker in the wiener for knocking up his daughter. Brenda tells him it's not worth it, and it was probably not Paulie's idea.
  • Parental Abandonment: Juno's biological mother divorced her father and left Juno behind for her new husband and three kids she had with him or as Juno calls them, "her replacement family". And instead of remaining physical contact with her daughter, all Juno's biological mother does is send her a pet cactus every Valentine's Day.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Both Juno and Leah's bedrooms.
  • Practically Different Generations: Juno is sixteen while her half-sister Liberty Belle is five, creating an eleven year age gap between the two half-sisters. And although we never actually see Juno's birth mom's "replacement kids", the stock photos provided are two toddlers and a baby, implying that this is applied for both sides of Juno's biological parents.
  • Precision F-Strike: Juno says "Ow-ow-fuckity-ow!" as she's going into labor.
  • Pregnant Badass: As emotional support, Mark shows Juno a comic book titled Most Fruitful Yuki based on a pregnant superhero with the same name. She says it genuinely helps her feel less ugly in her current state.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Pursue the Dream Job: Mark is interested in music and works as a successful jingle composer. His dream has been to become a rock musician.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Vanessa delivers a brutal one to Mark when calling him out for being a noncommittal Manchild more interested in being a rock star than committing to his wife and would-be child.
    Vanessa: You're trying to do something that's never going to happen. And you know what? Your shirt is stupid. Grow up. If I have to wait for you to become Kurt Cobain, I'm never going to be a mother.
  • Rule of Cool: Why did Juno spend the night moving and setting up an entire living room set on Paulie's front yard? Because it's simply more dramatic!
  • Running Gag:
    • Fetuses having fingernails, which Juno can't stop pondering after Su-Chin claims it. Fingernails also feature into the film in other ways; Brenda, Juno's stepmother, owns a nail salon, for example.
    • There's also a literal one in the form of the Dancing Elk track team running through the seasons.
    • Juno's hang-ups over adults' seeming obsession with teenagers being "sexually active".
      "What does it even mean? Can I deactivate someday, or is this some sort of permanent state of being?"
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After hearing that "fetuses have fingernails" and hearing numerous people in the waiting room doing various things with their nails and a heartbeat, Juno changes her mind and runs out of the building.
  • Sex God: Paulie apparently. When revealing her pregnancy to her parents, Juno comments that Paulie is " chair". And later when talking to Leah about the one time Juno and Paulie had sex, Juno says that he was "fantastic".
  • Serial Home Wrecker: Juno believes she is one and that she is responsible for Mark and Vanessa's marriage breaking up.
  • Sex Equals Love: Almost averted. Before the film's start, Juno has broken it with Paulie, though they're still good friends. However, after several misadventures and a disillusionment about the possibility of True Love, Juno comes to realize that Bleeker is her number one. Juno herself remarks that usually it's "fall in love, then reproduce."
  • Shout-Out:
    • Juno and Mark perform an acoustic version of Hole's "Doll Parts".
    • When Juno is asked about whether her band is getting back together, she replies, "Once Tino gets a new drumhead, we should be ready to rock," hinting at My So-Called Life.
    • "ThunderCats are goooooo!"
    • The B-movies and records that Mark and Juno watch, listen to and talk about.
    • Leah saying "I love Woody Allen" to the science teacher is an obvious in-joke. Leah is supposed to be 17 here; the teacher is about 40; they're both talking about Woody Allen who is a well-known man who for many years loved young woman (sometimes even allegedly girls). So the joke has an uncomfortable but hilarious ring to it.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The attitude that the film takes toward teen pregnancy is very idealistic, albeit not altogether positive. (Juno's complaining about being called the "Cautionary Whale" is Played for Laughs, for instance.)
  • Smoking Is Cool: Juno holds an empty pipe during her initial confrontation with Paulie and is later seen with it in her mouth while perusing Pennysaver ads with Leah for nothing more than stylistic effect.
  • Snark Knight: Juno's snarkiness grows along with the baby.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Junior, which was directed by Jason Reitman's father.
  • Stealth Pun: Juno's namesake is the Roman goddess of, among other things, fertility and childbirth. The protagonist even says that she was named after the goddess.
  • Straw Character: Vanessa doesn't overtly espouse any political ideology, but her mode of attire, affluence, up-by-the-bootstraps approach to business, and residence in a pricey and (presumably) all-white gated community indicate a conservative/libertarian mindset.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Brenda warns Juno that Mark is oddly laid-back about a teenager visiting him to deliver an ultrasound, and it's weird to visit a married couple when one of the members is away. Juno blows her off; she says that Mark is just a friend and she wants to make sure her baby is with Good Parents. It turns out Brenda was right; Mark got the wrong signals from Juno and decides to leave Vanessa, realizing he's not ready for fatherhood and surely Juno will hook up with him. Juno becomes disgusted and upset while saying This Is Wrong on So Many Levels!, blaming herself for breaking up Mark and Vanessa's marriage.
    • After drinking a 16-ounce Slushee drink, Juno ends up vomiting into an urn due to the large consumption (that, and morning sickness).
    • While Juno's friend Leah's crush on an older man (her teacher Keith) is Played for Laughs, Juno is repulsed when Mark announces that he is going to leave his wife Vanessa and puts the moves on Juno.
  • Tempting Fate: As Juno is about to leave the Loring's house and it's getting late:
    Vanessa: Your parents are probably wondering where you are.
    Juno: Nah...I mean, I’m already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?
  • Teen Pregnancy: 16-year-old Juno getting pregnant is the impetus for the film's events.
  • Their First Time: "It started with a chair." Although Word of God says while it was Paulie's first time, it wasn't Juno's. This is also mentioned in a conversation between Leah and Juno from the screen test which wasn't in the final film. This was just the first time there were consequences.
    • Also, this bit of dialogue implies that only Paulie was a virgin.
      Paulie: I still have your underwear.
      Juno: I still have your virginity.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels!: Juno gets very mad at Mark for saying he's leaving Vanessa and makes it clear he wants to hang out with her; she points out they have a happy marriage, they're adopting her baby, and she is still a teen. Fortunately, she doesn't tell Vanessa the last part.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Juno and Leah, respectively.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Mark gets paid a pretty penny to write music, but that's not enough for him. Granted, it's not the same as being a famous musician, but considering how many artists don't get to make careers out of their passions at all, he looks like a real asshole for complaining.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Juno vomits into her stepmother's urn after drinking a large Slushee.
    Bren: Juno, did you by any chance barf on my urn?
  • Wham Line: Mark to Juno:
    "I'm leaving Vanessa."
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: While Juno is unusual as a name and is remarked on a few times, it's still a very old one used every now and then for girls. Her sister being named Liberty Bell on the other hand, just comes off as bizarre, even if they refer to her as LB most of the time. Juno disagrees with the name choice Madison for her unborn baby (if it was a girl) as she thinks it's "kinda gay".
  • Wicked Stepmother: Averted. Brenda makes sure Juno is healthy during her pregnancy, defends her against a rude ultrasound technician, and generally supports her along the way (and refers to her as "my kid").
    • In fact, that's later used in the conversation between Juno and her father, about whether or not there are still people in happy relationships. Her dad points out that while his first marriage with Juno's mom didn't turn out well, things with Brenda were still going very good. If anything, it's Juno's biological mother who comes close to this trope: sending Juno a cactus every Valentine's Day is her mother's only contact with her, and Juno even refers to her half-siblings as her mother's "replacement kids" (while referring to her father's daughter with Brenda as her sister).
  • World of Snark: Almost every character in the film has a sharp tongue.