[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] Y [/dropcap] oung Adult is about a another case of arrested development, only this time it’s not about some guy who can’t get past his high school quarterback days and abuses subordinates at his hedge fund…..it’s about the prom queen who wakes every morning in her night-before clothes and who’s so bad to the bone that she could make a frat boy blush. Unlike Sunshine Cleaning, where Amy Adams is a likable young woman bemoaning her derailment and working her way back….Young Adult has Charlize Theron hitting her early middle age wall and drinking her way into a messy and disturbing hole in her Minnesota home town. This is Theron back in the North Country and being a different kind of Monster….the kind that haunts teenage girls’ dreams….the pretty A-list girl who has a mean streak in her a mile wide.
Diablo Cody has done a wonderful job writing this in that Theron is naturally pretty, but nasty when she hasn’t put on her heavy makeup and had her mani/pedi. She is successful, but on the verge of failure. She has a dog, but doesn’t care for her dog. She writes trashy high school heartthrob junk and has never left high school in any way. Where Juno was wise beyond her years, Mavis (where does Diablo get these names…..oh, never mind) is a stupid, insensitive lightweight who lashes out intentionally…. or accidentally….. against any and all comers. She is actually nastier and more ruthless than most Wall Street folk….and she hasn’t left the “Mini Apple”. This is complex writing about a category of lost girls that may not add up to the number of Lost Boys or fund managers in the world, but are certainly out there messing with married men and women’s heads.
Her straight man ex-boyfriend and ongoing heartthrob is Patrick Wilson who does a great job of treading that line of fond remembrance and loyal indignation. The real leading man here is Patton Oswalt who was ignored and abused in high school and even now, but who has his sense of humor and moral compass intact. He is a 40 year old virgin who paints action figures and lives at home….and yet he is twice as grounded as Mavis.
I work on Wall Street and live in the Big Apple….I see nasty every day. But Theron does nasty better than anyone…she moves you from dismay to disgust and from there she head fakes you into thinking she may find redemption only to backslide oh so easily into her nasty and uncaring ways. This is a good and serious film with some good humor at the edges.