Some people say that your high school years are the best years of your life. For a small group of popular kids that may be true and for those people the best years of their lives are also the rest of their lives. ‘Young Adult’ is a character study of what happens to high school stereotypes when they grow up, and it’s not pretty.
Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a writer living in Minneapolis sleeping away the days and drinking through the nights. After receiving news that her high school boyfriend Buddy (Patrick Wilson) has become a father, she travels back to her small home town with the goal of getting him back.
‘Young Adult’ is stacked with terrific performances and Theron is the standout. Her character is angry at the world and Theron gives off a glare that could stop the heart of a hamster. Her portrayal of a high school queen bee/mean girl in her mid-thirties chasing delusions of happiness is awkward and engaging. Squaring off with Theron is Patton Oswalt who is excellent as a geeky social outcast and Wilson is good as the old flame.
It’s a real shame that these great performances get lost in a film that has very little to offer. The story gets repetitive quickly and all the effort put into developing the characters is cast aside with a very disappointing finale. ‘Young Adult’ goes in a complete circle and it’s not worth taking the trip. A shoddy effort from screenwriter Diablo Cody whose name is used a lot to promote the film, and it’s a major step down from her excellent work on ‘Juno’ which she has still not matched with any of her follow up films.
Director Jason Reitman doesn’t fair too good either and his obsession with characters jaded by life is starting to get tiring. I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Up In the Air’ and ‘Young Adult’ fits in the same category. Maybe his next film will be about a bunch of privileged heroin addicts who turn to drugs despite their riches in life? Put the three films together for Reitman’s ‘bummed out on life’ trilogy.
Cody and Reitman were once two of the most promising talents in the filmmaking business, but ‘Young Adult’ erases any of their past success from memory. I truly hope for a return to form soon because ‘Young Adult’ is a real downer.
‘Young Adult’ is now showing.
The Popcorn Junkie