Saturday, August 11, 2012

Young Adult (2011)

Directed By: Jason Reitman

Rating: R

Runtime: 94 minutes

Some people actually believe that the grass is always greener on the other side. This is the case for 37-year old Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), a would-be fiction novelist with an obsession of her long passed high school years, for these years it appears, were the best of her life. 

It is my understanding from perusing various external reviews, that some viewers were expecting a large dose of comedy from this film - disappointment may have been what they got instead, for this film is not a comedy. It's a bit depressing in a way and hits too close to home in other ways. It's rather weird at times and downright shocking at others. In summary, "Young Adult" is about a woman's misguided perception of what she both wants and needs in life, and how she will overcome such obstacles. 

Working on the final book of a once-popular young adult reading series, Mavis Gary appears stuck. We see her in her quaint Minneapolis apartment furnished with pieces you might find in a typical college dorm. Practically falling out of bed in the morning after a one-night stand, Mavis takes off her stick-on silicone bra fillers and immediately heads toward the fridge to chug a portion of her 2-liter diet Coke. What can we gather from these initial scenes? Mavis is sloppy, unhealthy, and doesn't appear to have much self-respect.

One day while working on her novel, she receives an email from her high-school ex-boyfriend and his wife announcing the birth of their daughter. This email disturbs Mavis in such a way that on no level should be considered normal. Shortly thereafter, Mavis packs a quick suitcase and the dog carrier, setting off for Mercury, Minnesota, her hometown. This kind of reminded me of the incident with the Astronaut love triangle that took place in Florida some time ago, remember that? Mavis' intentions are not good. She is convinced, I'm not exactly sure how, that her long-ago ex-boyfriend and now married man Buddy Slade, played by Patrick Stewart, is unhappy and will want to run away with her. It is her job to convince him to accept that they are meant to be together so that, well... they can live happily ever after. The end. 

I'd like to mention that there is an interesting dynamic in this film where Mavis is working on her novel, creating and developing characters as it relates to her own life. Just like the main character in her novels, Mavis sees herself as a tortured victim who deserves no ill will and all the happiness in the world. But alas, I'm afraid in her world, the glass will always be half empty. This film is a bit odd and not at all very memorable because let's face it, Mavis is a stone-cold bitch on a path of desperation and denial. 

Thumbs DOWN

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