Review: Young Adult

Mavis Gary is clearly a bad woman. She is slovenly, heartless, materialistic, alcoholic, is promiscuous and eats junk food while keeping her figure. In most Hollywood films she would be strapped in for a one-way ride to the Error of her Ways.

But as this comedy/ drama is a re-teaming of the director/writer partnership behind Juno her fate retains a chink of uncertainty.

The film features two women who were saddled with Oscars more or less at the first opportunity.

Diablo Cody won for her first produced script, Juno, which is a hell of a paperweight to plonk upon an emerging talent. Her second film, Jennifer's Body, was bungled but that's hardly the case here.

Director Ivan Reitman and a fine cast give this script its best possible shot, but the strong suggestion is that although she can knock out good one liners, she is a little shaky on the bits in between.

The plot is the big city girl going back to visit the small hick town she grew up in, along with the mid-life disillusionment of the kids that were popular in high school.

Such stories, with their suggestion of author validation, are difficult to pull off without coming over as obnoxious, even when the author's surrogate is obnoxious.

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Mavis returns on a mission to try and win back her teenage sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), prompted by news he and his wife have just had their first child.

Charlie Theron got her Oscar for playing ugly in Monster and the most impressive thing about her is that she has failed to calcify into an Oscar-winning actress.

Here she has to get in touch with her inner cow and does so unflinchingly. Despite this appealing central performance the movie is a little arid.

Reitman gave consumerist alienation such a gleam in Up In The Air, but Young Adult looks like a TV drama.

It was a bold move to centre a film on a marriage breaker, but although the film is always funny enough to get by, it is rarely engaging.

There are moments in the script that suggest a real insight into the sickness of consumerist, fame-obsessed society. But then there are other bits where Mavis slumps around watching the

Kardashians in motel rooms.

What is lazier? Sitting around in pyjamas watching the Kardashians or using it as an image for America's social ills?


Director: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Oswalt Patton, Elisabeth Reaser, Jill Eikenberry and Collette Woolfe

Length: 94 mins