DVD Review: Young Adult
Four years ago, the story of an immature teenage girl thrust into early (semi) adulthood impressed critics and audiences alike. The sophomore collaboration of director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody delivers an immature woman who refuses to be thrust into any type of adulthood despite her age and circumstances. Mavis (Charlize Theron), a newly divorced ghost writer of young adult fiction, returns to her hometown to steal high school sweetheart Buddy (Patrick Wilson) from his grown-up responsibilities of being a husband and father. While formulating her plan, Mavis often confides in Matt (Patton Oswalt), another classmate who was on the opposite end of Mavis' social spectrum back in high school.
Young Adult starts off awkwardly funny, as Mavis' ego is on display and her "me" attitude runs rampant. Her delusional state of future happiness starts as something to chuckle at in the beginning, but as the film moves forward, everything about Mavis goes from awkward laughter to just plain awkward. The problem is that her sad state isn't due to deep characterization from Cody's script, but simply because her attitude and way of life have grown tedious by the end. Though Cody tries to make us believe there may be more to Mavis than what is simply on the surface and in her insane ramblings of wooing Buddy, it plays out as more of an cliche excuse for Mavis' behavior than a genuine character flaw.
That's not to say Theron's portrayal of Mavis isn't fantastic. Through some twisted charm, she keeps the audience engaged in a rather deplorable character. She's even better in her scenes when sharing the screen with Oswalt. Their on-screen chemistry elevates the film to something a little bit better than the rest of the content.
But despite being twenty years Juno's senior, poor Mavis can't hold a candle to the rather iconic character borne from Reitman and Cody's first film. Young Adult tries a little too hard to capture some of the comedic magic of its predecessor, but comes up short, as its writer just couldn't create a more genuine direction for the leading lady which makes her entire story simply fall a little bit flat by the end.