Young Adult (2011)


Guys Like Me Are Born Loving Women Like You

Today’s movie is another film I wanted to see, but mainly because of one of the people in it.  And it wasn’t even the star.  I wanted to see this movie because Patton Oswalt was in it, and I love him.  But one thing that kind of held me back was that it didn’t seem like a comedy, like I would normally like to see Patton doing.  He’s a hilarious guy, after all.  It seemed more like a drama, so I wasn’t really down for that.  But I saw it a couple of times in a RedBox, so I finally decided that I should just go ahead and watch the movie and find out.  And then, during the opening credits, I found out it was written by Diablo Cody, so I got a little more bummed out for what I was in for.  I watched it anyway, so here’s my review of Young Adult, written by Diablo Cody, directed by Jason Reitman, and starring Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Collette Wolfe, Jill Eikenberry, Mary Beth Hurt, and J.K. Simmons.

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a ghost writer on the once-popular Waverly Prep series of young adult novels.  That’s where the title of the movie comes from!  She is in the process of writing the final book in the series when she receives an email inviting her to come and see the newborn daughter of her high school boyfriend, Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson), and his wife, Beth (Elizabeth Reaser).  Eventually, Mavis’ psychosis leads her to believe this is a sign that she needs to return to her home town of Mercury, Minnesota to save Buddy from the situation he’s trapped in.  She reconnects with a guy she went to high school with named Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt).  Matt was disabled in high school after being brutally beaten because some jocks believed he was gay.  He wasn’t, but he was crippled in the process nonetheless.  He currently lives with his sister, Sandra (Collette Wolfe), and does a pretty convincing impression of Patton Oswalt by being fairly nerdy and painting action figures.  Though Matt tries to talk Mavis out of it, she starts to make her moves to convince Buddy to leave his wife for her.

I feel somewhat close to saying that this movie was good in spite of Diablo Cody’s writing.  The movie left me pretty confused, but not for the same reason’s as yesterday’s movie.  This movie just didn’t seem to have a point.  At the end of the movie everyone is pretty much exactly the same as when the movie began, so it seems like it probably shouldn’t have taken an hour and a half to get back to where we started.  I’m sure El Diablo wants to break from the overused traditions of “character arc”, but it just makes the movie pointless.  There’s not really a message to the movie, there’s no resolution to the movie, so why did I watch it?  I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it; I did.  But I don’t think what I liked has much to do with The Devil Cody.  It’s not very funny and the main character is not likeable, so I only like spending time with her because she’s so attractive.  I can only relate to her in one way, so I’m not that committed.  And the way I can relate to her is that we have the same writing style.  And by that I mean we write a sentence and then get distracted by something on the internet for an hour.  But I’m not an alcoholic, I’m not a FAMOUS writer, I’m not a super attractive lady, I don’t go around trying to mess up people’s relationships, so I don’t really care what happens to her because she’s not a very good human being and I can’t put myself in her shoes.  There’s only one thing that surprised me in the movie and it happened at the very end so ::SPOILER ALERT::  Charlize has sex with Patton Oswalt.  Good show, old boy!  When I started watching the movie, I actually wrote in my notes that there was a slim chance that Patton would end up with Charlize, so I was really surprised when it happened.  It would be an inspiration to nerdy, unappealing guys like myself that someone as gorgeous as Charlize Theron would actually have sex with us … after she had just humiliated herself in front of the friends and family of her ex-boyfriend and she needed a rebound.  But hey, I’d take it.  But Dildablo Cody doesn’t want to have character arcs and story in her movies, so she gets up and leaves Patton in bed the next morning, going back home to wait for someone else she blew in high school to casually mention they had a baby.  ::END SPOILERS::

Writing aside, the real thing to enjoy about this movie is the performances.  It’s no surprise that Charlize Theron’s a great actress.  Most of us have seen her do it before.  She really does inhabit this character and makes it real, and kind of makes you feel sorry for her even though she’s not a very likeable character.  I think it’s always a fascination when people that are super gorgeous let themselves be filmed in less than flattering ways for movies.  She got a lot of attention for that in Monster, where she let herself get fat and icky and practically unrecognizable.  In this one, she still had a slammin’ body and was gorgeous, but had a lot of scenes where she woke up with her makeup all fucked up.  But it’s not all physical with her; she’s also very good.  She doesn’t get naked though, so that’s a bummer.  You see her in her underwear, with some weird kind of strapless bra that seemed to be stuck to her boobs.  Is that a real thing?  ‘Cause it’s icky.  Patton Oswalt is also worth mentioning, because he was very real in his role.  There are similarities to the real Patton (as far as I know him), but he also does a much better job than I would’ve expected from someone who’s primary profession was not acting.  Patrick Wilson was pretty good, but not really the focus of the movie even though he was the driving part of the story.  Elizabeth Reaser and Collette Wolfe only really made an impact because I was trying to figure out where I knew them from, and when I figured out that it was Twilight and Hot Tub Time Machine I stopped paying attention.

This is a movie that I liked in spite of itself, but I can’t imagine that I’ll ever want to watch it again.  The story makes the movie feel pointless, and the main character is mostly unlikeable, but it’s held together by the quality of it’s cast.  I got the movie for a dollar from RedBox, and I don’t regret it, but I also didn’t like the movie nearly enough to purchase it.  My recommendation would be for you to pick it up from the RedBox and find out for yourself.  I don’t imagine anyone would hate the movie, but I could see some people loving it.  Young Adult gets “Sometimes, in order to heal, a few people have to get hurt” out of “We can beat this thing together.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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