“Young Adult” is the story of a divorced writer whose series of teen books is on the verge of cancellation. She’s lonely, cynical, selfish, emotionally retarded, and clearly alcoholic.
When she receives an email regarding her ex boyfriend’s new baby’s “naming ceremony”, she gets it in her head that she and he were meant to be together. So she travels home to seduce him away from his wife and newborn child.
Comedy and drama both ensue, but neither in heaping portions.
“Young Adult” has an interesting team behind it. It was directed by Jason Reitman, who also helmed “Juno” and “Up in the Air”, which I like and love respectively. It stars Charlize Theron, who, in spite of her kind of spotty filmography, is a great actress and she’s got the Oscar to prove it.
The “X Factor” in the equation is Diablo Cody. For those of you who dont know, “Diablo” is an ex stripper who wrote about her experiences, which in turn led her on to a career as a writer. She penned the aforementioned “Juno”, which won her an Oscar. Of course, her follow up effort was “Jennifer’s Body” which pretty much could have qualified her for a Razzie. You see why I would consider her the “X Factor”.
And, sure enough, her script is the biggest problem I have with the movie. The movie is essentially a character study. I mean, plotwise, this film doesn’t move far from where it begins, and along the way, all of the “action” that happens is related to watching the growth in the character. Or lack thereof in this case…? I dont want to give any spoilers or anything, but lets just say the movie ends without any kind of super-clear indication that the character is going to change her ways.
The Patton Oswald character was a bit “heavy handed” too I felt. Not Oswald, himself, he was great. Did very well for himself here. But essentially, if his character’s place in the story is to be Theron’s character’s opportunity to grow and learn that other people aside from the “Beautiful People” have feelings, can be relatable, etc… did he have to be crippled by an attack by high school bullies? I’m sure most people will just go in to the movie and accept what’s given to them onscreen, but I traced that all the way back to the keyboard in my head and was like, wouldn’t this whole thing all work better if he was just normal? Nah, better make him almost killed by Charlize’s social peers back when they were in high school, Diablo, then people won’t “miss your point”. Need to borrow a hammer?
The selling point of the movie is Charlize.
This is good acting right here folks. The character she gets to play is a pretty juicy one. In that regard, Diablo did well. Mavis Gary is boderline insane, and Theron conveys that with a deft touch. She’s a wreck of a woman who embarks on a campaign to steal a happily married new dad… you know there are going to be some cringe inducing moments along the way. So the character doesn’t need the actress bringing her to the screen to chew scenery or ham it up… she’s crazy enough, and that’s going to come across. So Charlize just makes it happen. She totally credible here. Going in, one of my major hurdles was “Listen, if Charlize wants to wreck a home, she’s going to wreck a home”. Leaving? I was pretty ok with how it worked out. LOL. She picked up a Golden Globe nomination for her work here, and she certainly deserved it. We’ll see how she does.
In the meantime, the movie on the whole is enjoyable enough, but not quite as good as I had been hoping for. Mavis is a great character, I wish there was a bit of a better story surrounding her. It’s not a bad flick to check out, I’m just not going to push too hard that you see it.