Saturday, April 28, 2012

Young Adult (2011): Weak Comedy and Boring Drama

Young Adult
Young Adult is described as comedy as well as drama. Well, there is almost nothing funny in it. One would expect a solid film when Charlize Theron is in the cast. Unfortunately, the movie is not even close to solid. Young Adult is quite boring, predictable and it makes me wonder why it has been made at all.

Young Adult is about Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), once a popular teenager, now a divorced writer whose "Young Adult" fiction series are about to be cancelled. She decides to go back to her small home town in Minnesota and win back her ex-boyfriend Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) who is now happily married with a recently born daughter. There is another former classmate of theirs, unpopular Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt), disabled due to a brutal beating back in their school days with whom Mavis shares her progress with Buddy and a few bottles of alcohol.

While this premise could actually be turned into a decent comedy (My Best Friend's Wedding is coming to mind), this is not the case with Young Adult. The story is predictable. The events happening while Mavis is pursuing Buddy are boring. The small details are disappointing. The characters do not capture your attention. There is occasionally a funny line here and there but those are less than enough to entertain you.

The plot's premise allows for a good dramatic work too but Young Adult is nothing like a strong drama either. The main heroine does not provoke empathy. Any eventual suffering is more a product of her stupidity and selfishness rather than being a consequence of some tragic or burdensome development. The whole plot is in a way pointless and just happening without involving the audience. And in fact, there is nothing so dramatic in the movie.

The best in Young Adult is Charlize Theron's acting. She makes a good performance (as usual) but it is hardly enough to save the movie. Patrick Wilson does not have so much screen time but he is also Ok although we've seen him in considerably better productions. Patton Oswalt's character is probably the most interesting and Oswalt plays the role of Matt quite convincing. The screenplay is weaker than expected from a writer like Diablo Cody, especially having in mind her Academy Award for Juno. It's not that such stories do not happen in real life, it's just not narrated in an engaging way.

If you want to see this movie, you can always find a good reason to do it, either being Charlize Theron's acting or something else. The point is you can see better movies with Theron, better films with the other actors, better works by screenwriter Diablo Cody and better efforts of director Jason Reitman. There are more profound dramatic works and funnier comedies. Then why would you look for a decent reason to see exactly this movie?


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