Young Adult – 2011
Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Collette Wolfe, Hattiene Park, J.K. Simmons
Written by Diablo Cody
For those who like their comedies dark and their young movie families in danger of being broken up, this one should do the trick. The sad part about it is there is only one character that needs to be developed. Everyone else just sits there watching and waiting for her to catch up. That character, Mavis Gary, is played by Charlize Theron with either no nuance or nothing but. Everything is hard-core, and as a result, nothing stands out. This not the fault of the actress. Instead, it’s the continued celebration of Diablo Cody’s narcissism.
The purpose behind Mavis Gary’s plans to reconquer her teenage glories is not a shallow subject, but Cody and Reitman combine their efforts to make every point laboriously. The act was tiresome and laughable before she even met the object of her desire. So we are left to meet many more reasonable people who hear Mavis’ speak with a rapt illness that her alcoholism feeds, and not notice a thing until the it all spills over in the front yard.
There are lines that seem to be clever, but just as many land with a thud. If we aren’t totally clued in by Gary’s behavior, we are given a muse in the form of Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille). His Matt Freehauf reminds her that every step is a bad one, all the while having a crush on her. He serves a dual purpose of being a receptacle for jokes about being disabled. Fun.
There is a scene towards the end of the film where Gary is checking out of her motel. She observes some very plain-looking donuts placed on a plate in between her and the clerk of the motel.
“Just so you know, those are for Honors Members only,” the clerk says, feigning teenage indifference.
Gary stares at her defiantly, reaches out and grabs one and puts in her mouth as she picks up the rest of her stuff. Yeah. Funny.