Jason Reitman had some large shoes to fill when he began his film directing career. Jason’s father, Ivan made some fairly beloved movies during the peak of his career such as Kindergarten Cop and the Ghostbuster films. For all who have seen Jason’s films it may be safe to say he has surpassed his father in the art of movie making. His films, while funny and heartwarming touch on topics of relevance and seriousness that most people recognize or identify with.
Reitman’s latest movie teams him up with the writer of his debut feature film, Juno, Diablo Cody. Young Adult stars Charlize Theron as a former prom queen in a small town in Minnesota who has left the small town behind for a successful writing career in the large city of Minneapolis. She has become unhappy and unfulfilled in her life drowning it in alcohol and meaningless relationships when she receives an email that announces her former high school sweetheart has had his first child with his wife. She decides that he must be as unhappy as she is and ventures back to the small home town of Mercury to win him back. She soon strikes up a friendship with one of the least popular guys from school played by Patton Oswalt. She reveals her plan to him while he watches the train wreck slowly occur he continues to be the shoulder of truth she really needs. After a few days of some uncomfortable events and disastrous encounters she realizes her unhappiness and depression all fueled by the alcohol she consumes. She soon understands that leaving the small town was the best thing and that the things she has and the life she has built isn’t worthy of her unhappiness and she decides to live the life she needs to.
Charlize Theron has developed into one of the finest actresses of the last 10 years and has a true ability to become a character. She makes you hate her and feel sorry for her all in one with her portrayal of her character Mavis. Despite incredible outer beauty her inner person’s ugliness makes you look at her from a different angle. She develops her character into a sad lonely woman who is just in need of satisfaction. Her career is on the slide she has a failed marriage and no contact with her family. Theron plays this role so well you are immediately drawn into her life and believe she has become Mavis. The true sign of a great actor is when within minutes you forget you are watching someone acting on the screen and you feel like you are truly watching someone’s life. Theron undoubtedly does this in Young Adult even if the movie has it’s flaws which kept it off most awards sheets.
Lost amidst Theron’s performance is the surprisingly great job done by Patton Oswalt who plays Matt her confidant and new found friend who is crippled physically as much as she is emotionally. He befriends her unintimidated by who she used to be or even her so called success. He is the one person not afraid to tell her whats wrong with her and see’s through her masked existence.
Reitman has a way of mixing humor with his serious true to life topics that very few have been able to do. Although labeled as comedy films there is a deep seriousness among all the story lines. His movies have a new John Hughes feel with not quite as much silliness and out right comedy but they still send a message non the less. Young Adult is not quite as masterful a picture as was Juno or Up In The Air but it’s fine entertainment regardless. It’s uncomfortable feelings will have you cringing in discomfort and laughing while doing so. You will find yourself pulling for Mavis to get herself aligned while also hoping she falls on her face. It’s a film worth your time but don’t expect it to blow you away, it will just leaving feeling not too bad about your situation because on the surface everyone else looks better off but we all got problems, some just deal with them better than others.