Shallow, demeaning and brazenly offensive.
Young Adult proves beyond question that screenwriter Diablo Cody has lost whatever merit she deserved for the acclaimed Juno (2007). The purpose of Young Adult is nothing less than to mock small towns, small schools and their residents, and it is disturbingly apparent that Ms. Cody has spent far too long in her cherished hangouts in L.A.
This is clearly an offensive film from beginning to end, and I am trying to be polite. Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a divorced, hopeless alcoholic who discovers that her former high school lover and his wife have just experienced the joy of their first child. Possessing nothing but an incredibly bad attitude, she travels to her long forgotten small town to try to seduce her old lover away from his wife and small child.
Not only is the entire concept idiotic, but Ms. Theron plays nothing more than an amoral, boozy, semi-attractive hag, and the entire movie is as poisonous as it is profoundly annoying. What in God’s name was she thinking?
The only role in the film that has any meaning of any kind is played by Patton Oswalt, an old high school colleague that Ms. Theron has long ago forgotten. Overweight and forced to walk with a cane after suffering a tragic beating in high school administered by some disturbed boys who mistakenly thought he was gay, he provides Ms. Theron a bit of reasonable advice while simultaneously plying her with booze that he manufactures in his garage.
Patrick Wilson pays Ms. Theron’s tragic ex-boyfriend, and he is so incredibly pedestrian that it is impossible to imagine why any woman would want to lure him away from his wife. The most hideous thing about watching this disaster to begin with was the knowledge that it was the first film that I saw in 2012. Given the fact that I spent a bit over three weeks in the hospital after getting wiped out by a motorcycle this last October, this mindless movie adventure made me a bit uneasy about 2012.
Since Juno, Ms. Cody’s other contribution was the disastrous film with Megan Fox entitled Jennifer’s Body (2009). Like it or not, she has a tragically inflated view of her own self-worth, and Director Jason Reitman should be profoundly embarrassed about putting his name to this forgettable adventure.
As I referred to above, it is astonishing to watch Ms. Theron voice the words of Ms. Cody as she repeatedly utters drunken insults about anyone living or working in any Minnesota town other than Minneapolis. What the movie spectacularly ignores is that Ms. Theron’s character is already 37 years old and has little interest in life other than getting recklessly laid while consuming inordinate sums of liquor. If Ms. Theron’s character was simply Cody’s alter ego, the latter is going to have to spend a great deal of time in some worthwhile therapy.
What adds to the profound disappointment of Young Adult came from reading last Sunday’s New York Times. In it, film critic Stephen Holden picked Young Adult as one of the five best films of the year, further suggesting that Jason Reitman will be nominated for an Oscar and Patton Oswalt will receive a nomination as best supporting actor. Given the fact that his co-workers Ms. Mahnola Dargus picked Melancholia and Hugo as likely Oscar film nominees, while A.O. Scott picked Tree of Life and War Horse in that same category, one can only hope that they take the time to call Mr. Reitman and Ms. Cody to see if they all can visit the backwater of the United States known as the Midwest to see if they have lost their collective judgment.