Saturday, December 10, 2011

Young Adult

Mavis Gary is the ghost writer for young adult fiction and is perhaps so successful at her job because she essentially inhabits the world she writes about. In between texting, gorging fast food, watching reality TV, engaging in casual sex, and avoiding professional responsibilities, it goes with out saying that her life lacks meaning. When she opens an email inviting her to her now married ex's baby shower, she takes it as a hint that he wants her back. So, with her old mix-tapes in tow, she heads back to her small town to reclaim past glory and her former love. "Young Adult" is a pleasantly surprising movie about an exceedingly unpleasant person, not because it takes us on a journey that celebrates her victories, but sees her for what she is and uncovers the layers of sadness and desperation. The film reunites director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, and while Cody's dialogue was tiresome from the opening convenient store scene in "Juno", they again find truth in the story of a "16-year-old". Charlize Theron, who won an Oscar for "Monster" stripping herself of all beauty, does the same here while leaving only her alluring facade. It is a brave and off-putting showcase. In support, Patton Oswalt, the stout comedian who demonstrated his acting chops in "Big Fan" again shows his abilities as a crippled local who Theron ignored in High School but currently and gradually befirends. I also liked the work of Patrick Wilson as the former beau, who has made an art out of elevating thankless roles. "Young Adult" is a rewarding film that invests in its characters and stimulates thought in its audience.