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Young Adult

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Young Adult

Directed by Jason Reitman

Opens Dec. 16

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron from Æon Flux and Monster) writes “YA,” also known as Young Adult fiction, also known as the title of our movie, and she’s hitting a rough patch with the writing and pretty much everything else in her life, so she decides to take a road trip from “success” back to her small-town hometown, a stultifying Minnesota suburb, where she used to be prom queen. Still in town are her parents, who always think everything is fine; her ex-boyfriend, who is now happily married (a very nice Patrick Wilson from The Switch and the not-so-nice Hard Candy); and some guy who was in her homeroom or something (comedian Patton Oswalt, in a well-informed turn as Matt, the guy who never had a shot with Mavis in a million, billion years), and of course she never noticed him because she was so fucking awesome and high school was all about her. One comeuppance, coming up. Young Adult is written by Diablo Cody, and that seems to be a deal-breaker for some folks, so if that’s a turnoff, be advised the dialogue here is blessedly free of all (as entertaining as they may have been to some—not all—moviegoers) the annoyingly cute/clever/cool dialogue mannerisms of Juno, Ms. Cody’s most recent big success. We didn’t see that other movie with Megan Fox so we can’t comment. Ms. Theron’s slightly distracting—what with the movie-star good-looks—character is placed in depressing situations involving alcohol and sweatpants and cartons of ice cream, and we’re supposed to buy the binge-eating and -drinking, which we do, mostly, and there’s a high degree of effective, albeit mean-spirited, slapstick comedy in this film, and eventually we start to feel bad and wonder about the other stuff that goes along with Mavis choking down a heaping plateful of all the items at the combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell/whatever, but again, this is primarily a comedy, plainly filmed and well acted by all involved, that is walking a fine line to show us that this self-centered, insensitive, ignorant, has-been hottie is possibly worth something other than our dismissal and/or contempt.

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