Director: Jason Reitman
Screenwriter: Diablo Cody
Starring: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser
When are you too old to go back to your hometown and try to win back your high school boyfriend? Mavis Gary (Theron) is a recent divorcee living a very delusional life. She lives in downtown Minneapolis and is the author a young adult series about the lives of high school girls. She believes they are bestsellers but can't face the fact that she is currently writing her last entry as they are no longer in demand. She is quick to clarify they are not about vampires. She receives an e-mail announcing the new birth of Buddy Slade's (Wilson) new baby and is confused on why she gets it. Mavis and Buddy were high school sweethearts. She questions why she got it to a friend only to internally question why she isn't the one having babies with Buddy.
Being the delusional person she is, Mavis packs a suitcase and her dog and drives back to her hometown of Mercury, MN to win back Buddy. She merely sees his wife (Reaser) and the baby as baggage. Why should a little baggage stop someone from rekindling an old high school romance? While grabbing a Maker's Mark at the local bar, she runs into Matt (Oswalt) who was another classmate of theirs. Mavis doesn't recognize him until he mentions he was "The Hate Crime Boy". A prom queen like Mavis would never associate with a "fat geek" like Matt. Matt is the fat geek that makes bourbon in the garage and names it after Star Wars terminology. He also like to take apart action figures and rebuild them with different toys. Mavis struggles to write her book while getting pressure from the publisher. With no end time to her trip, she passes the time getting wasted with Matt and desperately tries to win back Buddy.
Diablo Cody's style of writing may not be for everyone, but she writes very interesting, flawed, and realistic characters. With strong writing comes strong acting. I love when actors step out of their comfort zones. Patton Oswalt is known for doing more comedic work. As Matt, he really shines as the lonely, depressed guy who hasn't made any efforts to do something with his life. Charlize Theron started her career by playing ingenue after ingenue in plenty of thankless roles. Ever since she blew the roof off movie theaters by playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, she has proven she is more than capable of playing complex characters. Young Adult is another winning performance for Theron. People keep talking about how Mavis is such an unlikable awful human being. Another local critic hated the movie due to his disdain for Mavis. I believe that only proves what a fantastic performance Theron gives. Theron makes the delusional world Mavis lives in believable. I don't mean to say that everything she does is forgivable. Mavis is mean, rude, and makes some pretty unforgivable choices. It's going to be a competitive race this year for the Best Actress Oscar. In any other year, Theron would nab one of the five nomination slots. We shall she if she can squeeze her way in this year.
RATING: **** (4 out of 5 stars)