Thursday, February 02, 2012

Young Adult - Movie Review

Who's in it? 
Charlize TheronPatrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt 

What's it About? 

Young Adult is the story of Mavis (Theron) a teenage fiction author returning to her hometown to 'save' her high school sweetheart from his happy marriage and newborn child. She's the big fish throwing herself back into the small pond and struggling with sheer disbelief that they're not grateful for her presence.  

Any Good? 

This movie is the latest collaboration of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody ("Juno") but please don't go expecting any of the warm and fuzzies Juno left us with. Theron is a mean girl that has aged but certainly hasn't grown up. Following her divorce, she's living with just her little dog (Dolce) for company and the persistent calls from her agent for the final draft of the latest teen novel she is ghost writing. Struck with writer's block, a generic email arrives pronouncing the birth a new baby girl of her high school sweetheart and his wife. In an attempt to recapture her youth she decides she must save him. 

Theron brilliantly acting like she'd eat that ice cream. 

On her arrival home she meets Matt (Oswalt) who was a victim of a hate crime in high school that left him permanently disabled, in typical mean girl fashion she pretends not to know him yet he sees through her immediately. He urges her to forget her ridiculous notion of a reunion and get on with her life. The acting between this pair is almost painful to watch its so realistic. At one point Mavis telling physically crippled Matt 'You've no idea how I've struggled'. She is self serving, outrageously narcissistic and stunningly beautiful, a heady mix that makes her attempts at seduction just that much more cringe inducing. 

It's just like high school, but with hard liquor. 
I did laugh throughout this movie but if you're expecting a comedy (as I was) you're sorely and painfully mistaken. This is a dark telling of one woman's overbearing and deluded sense of entitlement because of her looks. Theron is as ugly inside here as she was outside in Monster. She's distinctly unlikeable and for someone so beautiful, that's an incredible acting talent. There's no formulaic fairytale here but there is a stark look at flawed characters that's more than a little brave for Hollywood today. 



Kitty Catastrophe said...

Eeeenteresting! I really want to see this, apparently Diablo Cody wrote it while she was in the middle of working on the Sweet Valley High film, which is why Mavis is a teen fiction ghost writer!

Sue Jordan said...

Oh reeeeeaaally? I thought it was because she was a selfish Peter Pan mo' fo' so she could relate to the teenage fictional characters but the SVH link makes sense too. Think you'd really enjoy this 'un. ;)

Dan O. said...

Theron gives a terrific performance. She elevates the movie by demonstrating her versatility. She almost makes you feel sympathetic towards this blonde, beautiful and sharp-witted anti-heroine. Oswalt deserves consideration for supporting actor as well. Great review.