October 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm #40796
Well I came upon the trailer for this movie on Hitfix and I would like you to see it.October 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm #40798
Didn’t like the trailer. I think Charlize only did it because she always says she wants to do more comedies. Too bad this one doesn’t look good.October 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm #40799
The movie actually looks much more promising than I had imagined. I will say that that trailer is horrendous, though. I could see glimmers of fun in it. I was always apprehensive that Theron would get attention for this, but we’ll see.October 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm #40800
Well I came upon the trailer for this movie on Hitfix and I would like you to see it.
I really like it. It looks great, and Theron looks like she’s going to be amazing in it. I think I might have to update my Best Actress prediction.October 7, 2011 at 5:58 am #40801
At the moment I have this shortlisted for best picture, actress, director and screenplay (on the basis of the AMPAS history of those involved, the distributor and release date [looks like this is Paramount’s big Oscar push this year])…
I’m not a fan of Reitman’s previous work but this trailer made me laugh in all the right places so my hopes are raised…October 7, 2011 at 6:19 am #40802
The trailer isn’t terribly exciting, but given the pedigree of those involved (especially Reitman, whose Up in the Air was one of my favorite films of the last decade), I’m willing to give it the benefit of any doubt for now.October 7, 2011 at 10:14 am #40803
Yeah the trailer is promising. I laughed out loud a few times. I’ll definitely check this one out. I’m a fan of “Juno” and “Up In the Air” so I’m hoping Reitman delivers with YA as well.October 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm #40804
Trailer was actually better than I expected. I’m still not sure about Charlize though but she looks promising enough.October 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm #40805
The trailer was kinda meh, but Theron looks great.
“It’s okay. We can beat this thing together!”
… or however that exchange goes.October 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm #40806
Here is David Poland’s very favorable review:
“Young Adult” makes U.S. debut at Edina Cinema.
Posted by: Colin Covert under Movies Updated: October 20, 2011 – 6:03 PM
On Wednesday the Landmark Edina Cinema was the site of the first U.S. audience screening of “Young Adult,” the new film from the “Juno” team of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody. The much-anticipated new collaboration shares some stylistic notes with their earlier effort — a pop-saturated soundtrack, a woman-child stuck between adolescence and adulthood, a droll appreciation of daily life in suburbia. It’s also a step in a new direction, both for the creative team and for movies, a mature and humane comedy centered on a misanthropic female antihero.
Think of it as “Juno’s” wicked step sister.
Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a divorced writer (or as she perfers it, “author”) of “Sweet Valley High”-style teen novels. Though she’s in her thirties, Mavis never really graduated high school. Her Mineapolis high rise apartment has the depressing, slumlike impermanence of a crash pad. Her social life consists of one-night hookups and lunches spent belittling former acquaintances with a catty former classmate who fled Mercury, Minn. for the big city. At once haughty and insecure, Mavis is a textbook case of arrested development. To top it off, she’s still obsessed with her former high school sweetheart, Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson). Her fixation flares when Buddy’s wife emails her an announcement welcoming their newborn child.
Mavis launches a mission to rescue Buddy from the bondage of family life, heedless of the fact that he’s utterly content as a new dad. Equipped with an armory of makeup brushes, falsies and lethal little black dresses, she travels back to her hometown to reclaim her man. The comedy of awkwardness is honed to a knife edge as two-faced Mavis seductively wheedles Buddy at a plaid shirt sports bar. In her slinky cocktail attire she’s as out of place as a black widow on a slice of apple pie.
Looking on mockingly is Matt (Patton Oswalt), a wisecracking former classmate of Mavis and Buddy’s. Though he’s physically disabled from a brutal high school bullying attack, he’s better adjusted than Mavis. As she pursues her romantic delusion to its bleak conclusion, the two misfits strike up an unlikely friendship. In Matt, Mavis discovers the one confidant who might have saved her from terminal self-absorbtion when she was still young enough to change.
Edgy, subversive and hilariously embarrassing, “Young Adult” undercuts the conventions of female-centered comedies at each turn. It manages to keep us invested in the story despite focusing almost every scene on a thoroughly unpleasant protagonist. The supporting characters provide the homespun humanity Mavis lacks, especially Wilson as the bland new papa and Elizabeth Reaser as his funloving wife.
Theron delivers a brave, darkly amusing performance as a one-time alpha female realizing that life is passing her by. In her scenes with Oswalt, Theron drops her character’s mask of mean girl poise, revealing the fear, loneliness and confusion beneath. “Young Adult’s” skepticism that Mavis can fan these flickers of self-awareness into a flame of understanding is a guage of its sophistication. Cody and Reitman would rather close their film on a lifelike, unresolved note than force its characters into a contrived happy ending. Audiences may not embrace Mavis immediately — she’s too spiky for that. But there’s little doubt that in time she’ll join Marge Gunderson and Juno Temple as one of Minnesota’s emduring and iconic film characters.
“Young Adult” opens Dec. 9.October 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm #40807
Sounds like Cody may be gunning for her second Oscar.October 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm #40808
It seems like Theron will at least be able to get a GG nod in comedy.November 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm #40809
Drew McWeeny from from HitFix…
Wow. Talk about mixing it up.
I think “Juno” gets a bum rap, which is a funny thing to say about a
film that was both financially successful and critically awarded.
It’s true, though. People beat up on the film in a reductive way,
as if the only thing of note about it is the pop culture that seems to
be the primary vocabulary of today’s youth and that was so much of a
part of the way the characters in that film defined themselves when
I’ve always thought the second half of “Juno” is the better half, the
stuff that deals with the way reality can often be at odds with the
image we have of someone, and I think the best parts of “Jennifer’s
Body” are the parts that get at some difficult, hard-to-discuss truths
about the way women are pitted against each other in our culture and
the way it can distort their notions of friendship, even amidst the
blood and guts.
With this film, Diablo Cody’s voice finds its most refined presentation
so far, stripped of anything you might be able to dismiss as a gimmick,
and I think it will surprise anyone who thinks they have Cody or
director Jason Reitman totally figured out. Mavis Gary, played by
Charlize Theron, is a character that tests any conventional wisdom
about what is considered acceptable as the lead in a movie. She’s
a fairly empty person, awful and unable to understand or respect or
reproduce normal social behavior. She is the ghostwriter of a
series of young adult books about high school, and one of the reasons
she’s been so good at writing them is because she has never really
allowed herself to mature past the person she was at what she sees as
her own best moment, her high school years.
So when an e-mail arrives for her one morning announcing the birth of
the baby of Buddy Slade and his wife Beth, it’s like a punch in the
face for Mavis. After all, Buddy (Patrick Wilson) was hers first,
and that baby should have also been hers. It’s enough to set off
a crisis for Mavis, who decides that she’s going to “rescue” Buddy from
his marriage by returning home to her small town and making herself
available. She knows that’s all it will take to ensure that Buddy
will leave with her, finally free of the life that trapped him and the
woman who tricked him into marriage.
Charlize Theron is stunning in the role of Mavis, and most of what I
found most impressive about the performance is the attention to small
detail, the way she inhabits the skin of Mavis without apologizing for
her or trying to smooth away the rough edges of the character as
imagined by Cody. One of the things that is very true about
Hollywood and the way films get made is that actors are often afraid to
play people who are truly unlikeable. The bigger the star, the
more likely it is that they’re going to balk at playing something that
will make the audience hate them. That’s not to say that they shy
away from bad guys or villains entirely, but they’ll always find a way
to inject some sort of grace note, something that redeems the
person. Theron apparently didn’t get that memo, because Mavis is
a richly detailed, carefully observed piece of shit. She is
emotionally damaged, and she doesn’t seem even moderately interested in
getting better. She wants what she wants, no matter what, and she
has no thoughts of others that do not in some way involve what she
wants from them.
Once she shows up in her small hometown, she runs into Matt Freehauf
(Patton Oswalt), or as she refers to him, “the hate-crime guy.”
He was brutalized in high school at one point, and he’s been dealing
with the emotional and physical scars ever since. From the
trailers, I imagined he would end up being the hilarious sounding board
to Charlize, eventually helping her towards some important
self-realization, because that’s the way that role would unfold in any
typical cliched version of this story. If you want to see Oswalt
in a more conventional use of his talents, check him in the opening
scenes from “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.” That’s the
acerbic profane razor-sharp comic that we’re used to. Matt is
something else. He’s the guy who had the locker next to Mavis all
through high school, and he remembers a very different version of her
than the one she believes. He lives with his sister Sandra
(Collette Wolfe), and he’s a private person, a guy who carved a safe
and quiet life for himself out of some pretty awful
circumstances. He is a sounding board to Mavis while she’s in
town, but very few of their scenes end with punchlines. He’s got
nothing to lose when it comes to Mavis, and so he speaks to her without
any filter, without any reservation. The relationship that
develops between them is blunt and based largely on alcohol and frank
talk, and I really love the energy of the scenes between them.
Patrick Wilson is also really strong in the movie, and I love the
way Cody’s written Buddy Slade. The name suggests a guy who
encapsulates everything awful about small-town high school, like he’d
be one of the bad teens from “Stand By Me” or “Christine.” But as
played by Wilson, he’s a normal guy, comfortable in his work, deeply
connected to his family, happy in his marriage. His wife Beth is
played by Elizabeth Reaser, and she’s lovely in the movie, warm and
grounded, a perfect match for Buddy. Even in the few moments we
see from their marriage, there’s a real life suggested, a great
contrast to the daily routine that seems to be killing Mavis at the
beginning of the film.
I watched most of the film gripped by a sort of full-body cringe,
horrified by what was happening. I think there’s an almost
unbearable amount of tension involved in the idea that we’re watching
this delusional, miserable asshole sweep back into the lives of people
who are long since done with her, wreaking havoc without any sense of
self-awareness. She is Godzilla, stomping her way through an
emotional Tokyo, and I particularly loved the way she would channel her
real-life frustrations into the book she’s working on. It’s hard
to have a character in a film be a writer and to create convincing
examples of their work within the work. Here, Cody absolutely
nails the tone of the “Sweet Valley High” fare she’s poking fun at, and
I can see why Mavis would have been just right to write dozens of these
books. Her arrested adolescence is enabled by her work,
encouraged even, and she has a voice that is perfect for the
protagonist of the series. The idea that the series is coming to
a close is a undercurrent to this crisis, something that’s driving her
to reckless actions in the real world to make up for the loss of this
fantasy world where she’s been able to keep living this moment.
Special mention must be made of Collette Wolfe, who has been doing very
good work in films like “The Foot Fist Way,” “Observe and Report,” and
on shows like “Cougar Town” as well. But here, she gives one of
those supporting performances that make you reassess them completely,
and in two short scenes, she suggests an entire life of desire and
repressed feeling and furious sublimation. Mavis spends this
entire film talking about how she’s making this romantic gesture and
she’s doing something brave by reaching out to the person she’s always
felt like she should be with, and when she’s confronted with the real
thing, someone actually doing that, she doesn’t recognize it at
all. Wolfe’s big scene really is the beating heart of the film, a
human moment that still doesn’t excuse or subdue the toxic nature of
Mavis and her journey. That’s not easy, and it is impressive in
the writing, the directing, and the performances from all involved.
“Young Adult” is not an easy film. It’s not a pleasant
film. But I think it’s a pretty great film, and the best way to
approach it is by dropping all expectation of what it is “supposed” to
be. I wish I didn’t recognize any of myself in Mavis Gary, and I
wish I didn’t understand the wildly self-destructive qualities that
define her. I think the film reaches for something very dark and
hard and real, and the degree to which it accomplishes that is
impressive. I can imagine “Young Adult” will be intensely
disliked by just as many people as it is loved by, and that’s a sign of
just how uncompromised it is.November 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm #40810
Looking forward to Charlize Theron here, although I concur that the trailer is not too good.
Can Patrick Wilson not be a stick-in-the-mud this time? He’s a decent actor, but the guy gets a lot of praise for redundant work.November 16, 2011 at 11:11 am #40811
YOUNG ADULT (2011) – director: Jason Reitman
It’s not a stretch to call this Jason Reitman’s best film. Diablo Cody’s blistering script and Charlize Theron’s ballsy performance are immensely entertaining. Theron stars as Mavis Gray, a teenage book’s author, who returns to her sleepy hometown to rekindle a flame with her high school boyfriend. Pretty standard stuff, right? Nah think again. Let’s just say a journey of non-self discovery ensues. You keep waiting for the sentimental crap and epiphany to kick in, but Cody’s script goes in the opposite direction. Mavis is a miserably unlikable character who refuses to change and that’s what makes things so funny.
Patton Oswalt co-stars as her disfigured former classmate and Patrick Wilson plays Mavis’ now married ex-boyfriend. Elizabeth Reaser is solid as his wife. The film is pretty brief and to the point, though I wish Cody and Reitman eliminated the big speech in the third act. This film works fine without big speeches. And the predictable hookup scene could’ve been cut as well. But, otherwise, this is definitely one of 2011’s best offerings and probably the best thing Reitman and Cody have done thus far. I’m not sure how audiences will react to this divisive film, but I sure hope Oscar voters throw it some nominations.
MY GRADE: A-
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