Theron Provides many Laughs with “Young Adult”

Looking for a funny movie? All you need to do is mix the dry humor of Juno with a touch of catty Mean Girls banter (but this mean girl can drink and curse without getting grounded!) and you’ve come up with Young Adult.

Young Adult is a story about self-absorbed writer, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), facing the possible end of her career (and a serious alcohol problem). While writing the final book to a popular Young Adult series that has been canceled, Gary gets an email from her high school sweetheart, Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson), announcing the arrival of his new child with his wife, Beth (Elizabeth Reaser). This email sparks an idea in Mavis to return to her small hometown of Mercury, Minnesota to win back her sweetheart and save him from his “domestic prison.”

During her stint in her hometown, Mavis runs into old classmate, Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt), who tries to talk her out of destroying the Slade’s marriage. This movie was written and directed by “Juno” dream team Jason Reitman (director) and Diablo Cody (writer). So, right off the bat, you know it’s going to have some twisted humor, which works for the dynamic duo. While “Young Adult” does not have the same annoyingly cute lingo as “Juno,” you love to watch Theron’s character get herself into scenarios with her ex-boyfriend where she is clearly setting herself up for failure.

While Mavis Gary seems to only care about her own self (and her high school beau), she shows a bit of humanity (and perhaps an unhealthy attachment) towards her small dog. There are a few different scenarios in the film where the dog pops up and you can’t help but laugh because it seems so out of place.

Perhaps her cynicism and alcohol problem comes from her divorce, although there’s no mention of the marriage itself, except for mentions her ex-husbands name here and there. There’s also an awkward date scene that doesn’t really give much insight into her dating life (which could also be a source of her misery).

Along with being vague in some of the story plot, there are also spots that just seem to drag on or get very repetitive. Yes, she’s an alcoholic, we get it, she is in a routine, and do we really need another morning after shot of her in the same position as the morning before? It’s also unsettling how Theron’s character can just complain and wallow in her own self-pity around Oswalt’s character, who is physically handicapped after an accident in high school (I won’t say why in order to not give too much away), and expect sympathy for not being able to be with the guy she wants, but I suppose that plays into the narcissism of her character.

All in all, the movie was quite enjoyable, complete with a well-written script with a great cast. Charlize Theron seems to have a knack for playing a hot mess, and Patton Oswalt is perfect in his role as a jaded nerd (who has the coolest supply of 90s band shirts) who tries to alleviate the situation. Also, I always seem to enjoy anything Diablo Cody does (with the exception of Jennifer’s Body, but we all have bad days), so check it out!

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One thought on “Theron Provides many Laughs with “Young Adult”

  1. I wasn’t particularly motivated to go see this movie when it came out, and I don’t think I’ll be rushing to see it now that it’s on DVD. I’m not a huge fan of people who just wallow in their own misery, so it sounds like I won’t enjoy Theron’s character. Maybe I’ll watch for the dog, though! 😉 

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