Young Adult (Jason Reitman, 2012)

What's it about? Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a recently divorced writer of young adult fiction, who decides on a whim to return to her hick home-town to lure her high-school sweetheart away from his wife, baby and small-town domesticity, in an immature effort to address shortcomings in her own vaguely unfulfilled life

Is it any good? You know sometimes you meet a sulky teenager who is struggling to find their identity and as a defence mechanism they end up being a bit spiteful towards everything? That's what this film is like. The point is presumably is to reflect Mavis' immature, selfish attitude and her frustrated feelings about small-town conformity, big-town anonymity, work, children, marriage, life, and yeah, whatever, man (and it may well reflect the experiences of writer Diablo Cody as well). However, whilst it's commendably trying to set itself apart from the popular formulaic crowd, it isn't really smart enough or different enough to do so. If you set out to buck the trend, you better have something worth bucking about, and this really doesn't really say much more than the grass being greener on the other side. It is well acted, though. Charlize Theron is very good, failing entirely to look unattractive, even though she's playing a slobby and often hungover bitch, who has few redeeming qualities. Comedian Patton Oswalt also puts in a really nice performance as the nerdy former class-mate who was as unpopular at high-school as Mavis was popular, and who ironically ends up providing the most poignant connection to Mavis' previous life. There's a couple of laughs and some nicely observed moments, but I didn't really warm to it. If it were a sulky teenager, I'd be inclined to tell it to be a bit nicer, even though it probably just wants to be understood.

I don't trust you. What do others think? It didn't really capture the same acclaim as Reitman and Cody's excellent first collaboration, Juno, but it got reasonably well received, despite a mis-leading advertising campaign which marketed it as an edgy comedy - a sort of darker version of the likes of Legally Blonde. It really isn't funny or satirical enough to earn that tag, but it seems people liked it a bit more than I did. Maybe I'm just not tolerant enough of sulky teenagers. Like, whatever - is there a wrinkle on my brow?

What does the Fonz think? Means well, but a bit mean.

Buy it on Amazon

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