Movie review – Growing up is hard to do

2012-04-13 09:08

Film: Young Adult (UIP)
Director: Jason Reitman
Featuring: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt and Elizabeth Reaser
Rating: 7/10

It’s taken writer Diablo Cody five years, but she’s finally written a film script that is a worthy descendant of her debut, Juno.

It’s also reunites her with her Juno director, Ivan Reitman, who most recently made Up in the Air.

He’s a young director who hasn’t put a foot wrong since he made his debut with Thank You for Smoking.

Young Adult continues with Cody’s theme of maturity – though in this case, it’s the lack of it in her protagonist.

Again Cody explores our experiences and reproduces them with a twist on screen.

Charlize Theron is spot-on as Mavis Gary, a writer of young adult fiction who, it turns out, is so easily able to tap into the teenager’s psyche because she’s never grown out of her own.

Theron slouches and sulks, chews gum insolently and thinks the universe revolves around her.

Basically, she channels a teenage girl. Mavis is the teenager that Juno never could have imagined being.

After the failure of her marriage, the emotionally stunted Mavis heads to her one-horse home town intending to rekindle the long burnt out romance with her high school boyfriend, Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson).

Buddy has no idea what’s about to come his way. He’s happily married and facing up to the challenge of fatherhood. Both things are beyond Mavis’ ken, and that becomes hilariously and uncomfortably clear pretty quickly.

While hunting down Buddy, Mavis comes across another bloke she was at school with, Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt), who was severely beaten up by a bunch of jocks behind the football field.

Mavis is so self-absorbed and focused on her mission, she barely registers her own part in Matt’s traumatic childhood.

If the audience still needs a clue about Mavis’ sociopathic tendencies – this is it. Physically broken Matt takes pity on emotionally broken Mavis and tries to stop her from self-destructing – or at least tries to stop her doing it in public. His success is patchy at best.

Cody’s story is clever and disorientating because it bucks against any attempts to pigeonhole it.

Just when you think there might be a whisper of romance, it gets whisked away. Just when you think Mavis might have grown emotionally, she takes puerile to new lows.

Just when you think you might get a happy ending, well, don’t bank on it (but then again, don’t rule it out).

It all depends on what point of view you look at the outcome from.

Young Adult is an unusual, funny, often cringeworthy exploration of how we learn from our experiences (or don’t) and proof that the past is best left where it is (or not).



Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.