As Mavis Gary lounges in her Hello Kitty T-shirt, swigging a 2-liter of Diet Coke for breakfast while the Kardashians drone in the background, it’s clear the title “Young Adult” (out today in limited release) refers not just to Mavis’ occupation as a teen-lit author, but to the protagonist herself, whom at the age of 30-something, has never quite grown up. And she doesn’t apologize for it.
The Diablo Cody-penned, Jason Reitman-directed comedy follows Mavis as she returns home to Mercury, Minnesota, to win back her high-school sweetheart Buddy Slade (played by Patrick Wilson), who’s now married with a newborn baby. But, again, Mavis doesn’t care too much about that. The film is a hilarious (and at times cringe-inducing) tale of perpetual adolescence that you won’t want to miss. Here are five reasons to see “Young Adult.”
Charlize Theron Is Fearless
It takes a certain self-confidence to portray a character with so few redeeming qualities, and Theron has it in spades. In fact, director Jason Reitman told Theron she was the only actress he envisioned in the role. “[It’s] so nice, but also a bit of a back-handed compliment,” Theron recently joked to MTV News. Sorry, Charlize. We couldn’t agree with Jason more.
Patton Oswalt: Leading Man
Sure, Patrick Wilson fills the stereotypical heartthrob role here, but it’s Oswalt who nearly steals the show with his geeky Matt Freehauf, a high school classmate of Mavis’, who’s now disabled after being the victim of a hate crime. (The jocks thought he was gay…but he’s not.) Mavis and Matt’s unlikely friendship is one of the few soft spots in “Young Adult,” and it’s a relationship you oddly can’t help but root for.
Diablo Cody Lite
The Oscar-winning scribe of “Juno” has a penchant for quirky sight gags (hamburger phone, anyone?) and catchphrase-friendly dialogue (“Honest to blog!”), but Cody is pleasantly restrained in “Young Adult,” not allowing quippy lines to upstage the story. (Though kudos for that “textual chemistry” pun, Diablo…)
Without spoiling the movie’s conclusion, we’ll just say things aren’t wrapped up with a big red bow—something Theron said makes the story more true to life. “I sometimes watch movies, and I call them ’movie people,'” she said. “I don’t know these people who have massive revelations and turn their lives around.” Neither do we.
Strangely, You Might Just Relate
As despicable as Mavis can be, it’s hard not to commiserate with a small-town gal done (sort of) good, who returns home to find not much has changed. If you’ve gone back for a high school reunion, you know what we’re talking about.
Do you plan on seeing “Young Adult”? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!