Young Adult

Rated R 94 minutes 2011

It’s hard to separate Young Adult from the expectations that surround it — both what we’re expecting of the artists, and what they seem to expect of the audience. Written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman, a writer and director who collectively have some smart, fun work on their résumés, Young Adult stars Charlize Theron as an it’s-okay-you’re-supposed-to-hate-her alcoholic narcissist named Mavis, Patrick Wilson as Mavis’s small-town high-school boyfriend who she sets out to seduce, and Patton Oswalt as the former locker-next-door-having nerd whose back story is oddly specific and dark (permanently crippled by a savage beating, he walks with a cane.) And while it does have a few inspired moments, they’re just that — two-to-four-minute periods of insight and humor, showing the potential of what all these people could’ve made if they hadn’t taken a few dozen wrong turns. The whole movie’s so off-key, so toneless and directionless, that it’s difficult to just sit and experience the thing without interrupting it to ponder, “Ohhh, maybe they sort of meant this?” and “Do you think they wanted me to feel that?” We sort of expect Oswalt's Matt to teach Mavis how to connect with another person or engage with the world in some authentic way, but that never happens, and the small-towners who are confronted with Mavis' awfulness don’t give us anything to latch on to or sympathize with, either. Obviously, movies can be worth watching without people we love, lessons we learn, etc. But here there’s just a void where the substance should be. They spent millions of dollars and just forgot to say — well, pretty much anything. (94 min.)

Film Credits

Official Site: www.youngadultmovie.com

Director: Jason Reitman

Producer: Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith, Diablo Cody, Mason Novick, Jason Reitman, Nathan Kahane, John Malkovich and Steven Rales

Cast: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Jill Eikenberry, Mary Hurt, Collette Wolfe, Richard Bekins and Kate Nowlin

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Young Adult

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