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Young Adult - quick review


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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted December 18 2011 - 05:49 AM

While I can't say I wasn't interested in seeing the latest film from the combo of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody (they hit a chord with "Juno" a few years ago), I have to admit it was sort of uncomfortable viewing, as its main character, Mavis (Charlize Theron in an almost-sure-to-be-nominated Best Actress Oscar performance) in her late-30s, stumbles through her present state of depression. Present-day Mavis is a ghost writer of a series of "young adult" book winding down due to sales slowdown, and she's having problems finishing the last book, and having moved away from a small Minnesota town (and landing in its bigger city of Minneapoilis) and having gone through a lot of the "expected" life milestones with little to show for it, she's at a cross-roads of her life and mired in a life stuck in neutral. She lives on diet Coke and booze, and reality TV when she's not passed out. Mavis was one of those popular girls whose best years where in high school, and 20 years later, she gets an email announcing the birth of her high school sweetheart Buddy's (Patrick Wilson) daughter, and Mavis decides it's time to win him back, so she heads back to her small hometown, and her delusional plans get reality-checked by a former schoolmate, Matt (Patton Oswalt), whom she bumps into at a bar, and he has had his own cross to bear being subjected to a severe beating from other school bullies and left crippled, necessitating the use of a brace-cane to walk around, among other injuries. Mavis and Matt were never in the same orbits in high school, but 20 years later, Mavis's plans to win back Buddy befuddles and yet intrigues Matt, and Mavis would soon uses him as an unlikely sounding board amongst her drunken states. The trailers are cut to show a far funnier film than the actual film is, but in the midst of Mavis's misadventures and mis-overtures, it cuts to Mavis's core in the final act, and the uncomfortable tone and misappropriateness of her self-inflicted mission comes full circle. As a character study, it's messy and throughout the film, Mavis manages to use real-life events seen or overheard to produce some material for the book, and that interplay with her own life yields an interesting view of Mavis's own internal conflict and reveals the absurdity of an immature outlook on life and immediate situations, but it also allows her to work through her own issues and finding her way back to some of her lost mojo, albeit with a better emotional foundation. I think it'll play better to the audience in their 30s and 40s, asking them to reflect on meta-life questions and their general state of happiness and whether they are living the life they thought they'd be living coming out of their formative teenage years. I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.
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#2 of 6 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 27 2011 - 04:30 PM

You're spot on in regards to the trailer. It's sad to see the film bombing but I do wonder if the "fake" trailer and the original limited opening got word out and this is why people are staying away. I'd rate the film half a star higher than you but outside the annoying first ten-minutes that has more product placement then I've ever seen, I had a great time with the movie. I might say the very final speech didn't work either but the screenplay is so edgy that I really loved it. I thought the performances were wonderful (especially Theron and Oswalt) and Reitman certainly knows how to handle the material.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted December 28 2011 - 04:23 AM

I thought Young Adult was a tough movie to enjoy due to how unlikable the main characters were and how many uncomfortable situations they put them in. I could get past those things since the movie has many positives (like the script, direction and that the people and situations seem completely real) and it was a ballsy move to let the main character
Spoiler
Also, it has a great Star Wars joke.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 28 2011 - 01:36 PM

Re: The Ending [SPOILER=Warning: Spoiler!]I thought the ending was a letdown because NO ONE was jealous of her. One nut at the breakfast table wants to be her but EVERYONE else either felt sorry for her or hated her. I don't mind her getting away with it at the end but I thought it pretty much destroyed everything that came before it. Perhaps I missed something but I don't see how anyone was wanting to be her and no one mentioned it until breakfast. I mean, did the women in that town want to bang the "Hate Crime Guy"? [/SPOILER]

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted December 28 2011 - 01:55 PM

I took the ending very, very different then you did Michael.  I thought it was pretty obvious she was the only one there who "didn't get it" and that for everything that happened before, she had learned nothing, zip.   She was still the person she was at the beginning.  I thought that was pretty gutsy, and one of the things I liked about the film.


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#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 28 2011 - 05:47 PM

Again, spoilers. I think it's obvious she's just going to return to the city, get drunk again, pick up another one night stand and then start over again but I'm not sure she didn't learn anything. I mean, I think she could have done much better by picking up someone other than the Oswalt character. I found this perfectly in line with her character because she reached a breaking point. This breaking point might have just been desperation or embarrasment over what had happened earlier but I think there was something here that happened to her. The problem is that whatever she was feeling when she woke up that morning, to me, was broken because one woman idolized her. The sister said that "everyone" wanted to be her and that "everyone" was jealous of her. I don't think that was the case and I think the only person who wanted to be her was the sister who probably hated her own life due to having a crippled brother living with her. I think most people hate their lives but I thought one of the points that the movie made was that the "other side" hate their lives as well. I don't mind Mavis not learning anything but it just seemed to me that she did learn something only to overlook it because of this one character. Not to mention the obvious that she was a drunk and obviously had mental issues. I don't think her character hit rock bottom but I doubt there was much lower for her to go. I just don't think the person at the start would have gone for Oswalt. I thought perhaps she might have taken pity on him but I doubt a "queen bitch" would do that.