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Friday, December 30, 2011

Young Adult



In Young Adult, Charlize Theron plays a real piece of sh-- work. A ghost writer for a failing series of young adult novels, Theron was the much-desired, much-admired queen bee of her high school but grew up to be a deeply unhappy 37 year old alcoholic who watches far too much Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E! Also, she's batshit crazy, as her long suffering nerd classmate Patton Oswalt discovers when he runs into Theron back in their hometown. She left what her high school peers believe to be her glamorous life as a writer living in a condo in the big city of Minneapolis to come home for "a land deal investment". But Theron is really back to steal her high school boyfriend Patrick Wilson from his simple, happy life with his wife Elizabeth Reaser and their newborn child, and she goes about her transparent, lunatic scheme with utterly shameless determination. Directed by Jason Reitman, Young Adult is a darker, not winningly crowd-pleasing, but disturbingly funny turnabout from his last picture Up In The Air. Diablo Cody pens her finest, boldest screenplay yet, eschewing her snarky dialogue in Juno and Jennifer's Body while delving into the disturbed mind of Theron's character and all the damage she causes in her wake. Cody and Reitman admirably refuse to let Theron off the hook and twist away from a Hollywood happy ending where Theron learns to better herself that ties everything together with a bow. They're remarkably nicer to Oswalt, who does his damnedest to be Theron's Jiminy Crickett and gets to fulfill a lifelong fantasy by bedding Theron. After which Oswalt's sister Collette Wolfe begs Theron to be her queen bee and let her accompany Theron back to Minneapolis. Startlingly beautiful even in her worst moments, her worst moments comprising the entirety of Young Adult, Theron shines as an entirely different kind of monster from the one she played in Monster