Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Young Adult (2011)

     Having suffered through Juno (2007) and Jennifer's Body (2009), I wasn't super eager to give Diablo Cody another chance at trying to hide a lack of sensible plot with forced, imagined hip youth catch-phrases.  Okay, if I am going to be honest, I didn't hate Juno, but I did find it to be a pale imitation (unintentionally, I'm sure) of Saved! (2004).  But there didn't seem to be much in the writing to make me think that this woman deserved the praise she had been getting.  (Note to everyone: I really need to stop bitching about how qualified a writer is once they are successfully working in the field, because I cannot finish my own projects and it just makes me look petty and small.)
     Still, there was something about Young Adult (2011) that looked interesting (it didn't look all that funny, at least not from the previews), so I gave it 93 minutes of my life.  Well, if I am going to keep being honest, I gave it about 110 minutes.  Mostly because I needed to take momentary breaks from just how damn uncomfortable the movie could be at times.  That is not a complaint.  Cody and director Jason Reitman found the right mix where unsettling meets less than diligent soul-searching, and it is the most perverse experience to sit there watching the pain and distress that plays out in Mavis' (Charlize Theron) attempts to recapture her life by reclaiming the promise she felt she had back in high school.
     The problem that I had with the movie was that Mavis did have some level of success.  If she were a total failure, I would have felt like I were watching a documentary about how people end up like me.  It could have been a little more biting (where were the notes that her YA heroine was supremely unlikeable?), but how much more could an audience take?  Sure, I would have thought there would have been more Minneapolis music scene music.  Sure, it was creepy that Theron found a way to look like a cross between Meg Ryan and Nicole Kidman (a kind of psychotic, emotionally stunted sweet everywoman).  But so much more worked in this tale of bottomless sadness and lack of self that I can't bring myself to do my regular nitpicking of meaningless crap.

1 comment:

  1. You pretty much summed it up when you mentioned taking breaks due to the uncomfortable level of the movie. I felt like a worse person for watching it till the end. Not a happy movie.