Movie Review: Young Adult

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Young Adult is the latest movie from the writer (Diablo Cody) and director (Jason Reitman) combo that brought us the movie Juno back in 2007.  Reitman, son of famed director Ivan Reitman, has had a lot of success as a young up and coming director.  His last two features (Juno and Up in the Air) each earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director.  He's hoping to score the trifecta this year with Young Adult.

The movie centers on Mavis (Charlize Theron), a writer of Young Adult novels that is going through a mid-life crisis and has a serious drinking problem.  Upon the news of the birth of her high school sweetheart's (Patrick Wilson) daughter, she decides to return to her hometown in an effort steal him from his wife and new baby.  Along the way, she runs into Matt (Patton Oswalt), a loser from from her high school that has had a very difficult life because of a traumatic event that happened in high school.  Matt is the voice of reason in Mavis' outlandish attempt to break-up this marriage and things go from bad to worse the more involved she becomes.

Like other Reitman films, Young Adult is supposed to be a realistic look at society that isn't always perfect.  I feel that he accomplishes this, but almost goes overboard making Mavis somewhat of a caricature.  Some of her behavior is so over-the-top that it seems unrealistic unless she is dealing with some serious mental illness.  The movie gets very awkward and uncomfortable at times, but is also very entertaining and the acting is superb.  Theron is excellent in this role and shows quite a bit of range, but the real standout here is Oswalt.  He steals every scene he is in and is hilarious and yet you feel sorry for him at the same time.  The dialogue is fun and the characters are interesting, but overall I was left wanting something more.  There were too many open-ended questions that didn't get answered.  I almost feel this movie is somewhat acquired taste and isn't going to be for everyone and for that reason I wouldn't be in any rush to go see it.

Grade:  B-

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