Movie Review: Young Adult (2011)

Posted: May 28, 2012 in Comedy
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Mavis (Charlize Theron) is a successful young adult writer in Minneapolis Minnesota.  She hears that her old boyfriend Buddy (Patrick Wilson just had a baby and is happily married to wife Beth (Elizabeth Reaser) who is a teacher of special needs kids by day and member of an all girl rock band by night.  Mavis is bound and determined to win Buddy back and reclaim her place as popular girl and prom queen of her high school.  So Mavis sets off to her hometown of Mercury Minnesota to upend the idyllic marriage of Beth and Buddy.  The only thing standing in her way is a guy named Matt (Patton Oswald) who Mavis had nicknamed Hate Crimes guy because he was beaten to an inch of his life by some guys in high school who thought he was gay.  He isn’t.  Matt isn’t the only one with a messy personal life.  Mavis is divorced, drinks a lot, and is really a ghost writer for a teen book series that is no longer popular.  By the time she is in town for a few weeks, Matt and everyone else in town knows what Mavis is up to.  Does the bat out of hell Mavis use her feminine charms and gallons of liquor to win back her ex boyfriend?

The first thing I noticed about this movie is that there is a lot of product placement in this movie.  Mini Cooper, KFC, Taco Bell, and various types of liquor are all on prominent display here.  The story is pretty straightforward, down on her luck girl tries to regain past glory by stealing old boyfriend.  The story moves along quite nicely with a good helping of sardonic, pithy, black humor until the climax when it goes totally serious, and it’s like someone let the air out of the balloon, what happens after the climax further sinks this movie.  Theron tries very hard to be very plain, and very funny, she fails at one, no matter how hard she tries to wear sweatpants and look dumpy she can’t pull it off.  She does get funnier as the movie goes, but it’s Patton Oswalt who steals this movie, he  shows off his superb comic timing playing everyone’s least favorite cripple, and savoring every minute of it.  He’s a Star Wars loving, GI Joe collecting dweeb and he doesn’t care who knows it.  He made Theron much funnier by just being in the same scenes.  But ultimately the script runs out of sharp witty things to say and the movie just ends with a whimper.

Young Adult:  Unadulterated humor.

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