Comedy Movies, by Mike Richardson, 18 February 2012

Director: Jason Reitman

Stars: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt

Country: USA


Release Date:

Language: English

Our Rating: 8/10

If you’re looking for a jolly feel-good romantic comedy to put a smile on your cheeks as winter bites, stay well away from Young Adult. However if you’re looking for a mature look at life that’s painfully funny, and sometimes just painful get down the cinema and check out this absolute gem of a film that was criminally ignored by the Academy and the Oscars.

Charlize Theron and Elizabeth Reaser in Young Adult

Charlize Theron and Elizabeth Reaser in Young Adult

You’ll probably familiar with Juno, the 2007 film from writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman. That movie was a tidy sleeper hit written in pidgeon-American-teen that dealt with the much rehashed issue of teen pregnancy in a totally left field and refreshing way. Cody followed this up with the misfire that was Jennifer’s Body, that fell somewhere between kooky high school horror flick and a multiplex pleasing Megan Fox goggle-athon.

Young Adult is a lot closer t the former, but will still strike a chord with anyone experience a sort of late 30s pain featuring disillusionment and ennui.

If that isn’t enough to send you to the cinema, Young Adult also showcases a brilliant traffic stopping performance from Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary, the young adult of the title.

Mavis is an absolute train wreck of a 37-year-old, self-medicating on cheap booze as a way of dealing with her recent divorce and ghost writing horrific young adult fiction.

In case you are unfamiliar with the term Young-adult fiction or young adult literature (often abbreviated as YA) is romantic / action fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 14 to 22 (thank you Wikipedia).

Struggling with writer’s block, up against a deadline and being forced to deal with the fact that her commercial (if not lucrative) series of stories is coming to an end, Mavis is in need of something and that something comes in the form of a surprise e-mail inviting her to the naming ceremony of her ex-high school boyfriend’s child.

Mavis, horrible character that she is, takes this as a sign that they were meant to be together, heads home to win back her old flame; Buddy irrespective of the fact that he’s happily married with a child.

At this point the film could have dived into a dark and downright nasty bitch fest with Mavis as flat out psychopath, something like Alex in Fatal Attraction. Or turned the other way and gone for an all our flat comedy like My Best Friend’s Wedding.

Instead Young Adult holds an honest and amusing mirror up to the idea of a 37-year-old ex-prom queen returning home attempting to capture the promise that she had as a teenager.

The film and the character or his grimy and pathetic as Mavis’ “Hello Kitty” T-shirt, but it’s so invigorating to see a film that doesn’t shy away from tackling issues about the great disappointments in life.

Theron is utterly convincing from the off as she listens to listens to Teenage Fanclub off a mixtape Buddy gave her in high school, drinking and bonding a former classmate she barely remembers, (Matt Freehauf) and then shamelessly trying to steal Buddy away from his wife.

Young Adult is great little film that deals with the midlife crisis of the girl (who seemed to have it all, back in high school) that the happy suburban mothers (and friends of her supposedly love rival) remembers as the “psychotic prom queen bitch.”

Young Adult Trailer

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