Starring Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt
Directed by Jason Reitman
The holiday season is always a busy time, especially at movie theatres across the city of Toronto, which is why we often miss films that played during the holidays and have to wait until it gets released on DVD & Blu-Ray. Now that wait is over, out now from our friends at Paramount Home Entertainment is the latest comedy from the minds behind ‘Up in the Air’ and ‘Juno’. Get ready for “Young Adult”.
“Young Adult” is the story of Mavis Gary (Theron) who is a writer of teen literature who returns to her small hometown to relive her glory days and attempt to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). When returning home proves more difficult than she thought, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate (Oswalt) who hasn’t quite gotten over high school, either.
For his fourth feature, director Jason Reitman teams up once more with screenwriter Diablo Cody for a comedy that runs that gamut from sweet to downright disturbing. Reitman proves without a doubt that he is a master of tone, every moment in this film plays to perfection and it is a testament to him as a storyteller since every moment of this slowly unfurling train wreck brings up the dark levels of hilarity at every turn. The superb script from Diablo Cody nails the audience with a fairly standard set up, but peels back the layers off the story as well as her characters to reveal a darker edge as we go deeper into the belly of the beast known as suburbia. In many ways “Young Adult” feels like a romantic comedy that is playing out in real life, and when you think about it some of those people would be pretty upsetting. This film could have descended into staid and boring filmmaking but the entire film not only hinges, but thrives on the quality of the two lead performances from Charlize Theron & Patton Oswalt that keeps this refreshing film going.
As our anti-heroine who we still manage to like Mavis Gary, Charlize Theron throws herself into the part with absolutely no fear. In her best work since 2003’s ‘Monster’ where she won an Academy Award, Theron manages to make Gary’s former prom queen the right balance between sympathetic, likeable and completely unhinged. As she unravels this character before the viewer’s eyes we are thrust into to her deluded world as she thrives for something more never quite realizing that she is judging herself and her successes in life by a standard that doesn’t apply to her anymore and raging against the absurdity of it all. Playing the nearly counter opposite to Theron’s character; Oswalt was a relatable, sardonic and self-deprecating guy who can’t get over his high school experience after being the victim of a terrible crime. He is the only character in the film that actually gets to tell Mavis the truth, and really the only character that is forced into the reality of his or her individual situation yet still making the most out of it. Some truly great performances from two actors at the top of their respective games making this vibrant material come to life.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are excellent and the Special Features on this Blu-Ray include a feature length commentary track from the filmmakers, a behind the scenes look at the making of “Young Adult”, Deleted Scenes and the deconstructing a scene featurette.
Ultimately, “Young Adult” is a dark yet funny film with so many layers to it, that we could dissect it forever but the singular message of happiness is what reigns supreme. Not necessarily happiness in the past and trying to recapture that, but happiness in what lies around the corner and making it work the best way for you; it isn’t always pretty but it is the human experience.
4 out of 5 stars.
“Young Adult” is available now at video stores across Toronto; click here for a list of video stores near you.
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