by Rock ‘n Roll Ghost
Here’s another recent surprise: Young Adult. As much as I can appreciate Jason Reitman‘s talents as a director (and he is talented), I’ve found his films so far (Thank You For Smoking, Juno and Up In the Air) to be a bit on the smarmy side and without the depth that the stories deserved. Young Adult, about a smarmy, immature writer of young adult novels (Charlize Theron) that is still hung up on her high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson) is dead on hilarious AND moving.
Theron starts the film rewinding and replaying Teenage Fanclub‘s “The Concept” over and over and over on her car cassette player as she makes her way back to the small town in Minnesota she desperately ran away from for the big city (Minneapolis). To say Theron’s character is delusional about her chances at winning back the one that got away is putting it mildly. Wilson’s character is, shockingly, very happy with his wife and newborn baby. This just makes her dig in all that much deeper, doubling down on a horrible idea that gets progressively more horrible and humiliating.
Theron reluctantly hangs out with an old classmate she never thought twice about back then played by Patton Oswalt. Oswalt bring a tremendous amount of pathos and smartly attuned humor to his role and he and Theron play exceptionally well off one another, in addition to making one of the most unusual and unlikely, but most welcome onscreen duos of recent memory.
There is a lot of uncomfortable humor in Young Adult, it’s not a belly laugh type of film, but rather an astute character portrayal that smartly and deftly tells its tale without running off the rails at any point. Reitman’s direction, Diablo Cody‘s (Juno) screenplay, and Theron and Oswalt are all exceptional. Young Adult is a must see.