Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Film Review: "Young Adult" (2011).

"Everyone gets old. Not everyone grows up" in Young Adult. This comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman, and written by Diablo Cody. Soon after her divorce, a fiction writer returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter.

When the production of Labor Day (2013), a film Reitman had been preparing, was pushed to 2012, a window developed, and he decided to direct Cody's spec script as his next film after Up in the Air (2009). The script was inspired by an article Cody read about a woman who decided to pursue her high school sweetheart years later. While the article had a happy ending, Cody thought to herself, "What if it didn't?" Theron was Reitman's first and only choice for the lead role. At the 2009 Academy Awards, Reitman personally asked Theron to star in the film, which she accepted. By mid October 2010, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, and Elizabeth Reaser were cast. Oswalt was cast after doing a table read-through of the script at Reitman's house. Oswalt said that because his character, Matt Freehauf, had been badly beaten as a teen and was required to walk with a brace, he consulted with both an acting coach and a physical therapist to prepare for the role. At the same time, with a budget of $12 million, principal photography commenced, and wrapped in early December. Filming took place throughout Minnesota and New York.

The film stars Theron, Oswalt, Wilson, and Reaser. The cast is just one of the best cast of the year assembled for a film. Has there been a better performance this year than Theron's creation of Mavis? How about the pairing between her and Oswalt. I don't think so. Who knows? She was a wonderful hot mess as Mavis and the emotional journey she goes on is powerful. Cody and Reitman make Mavis the marvelously childish center of a witty acerbic comedy that qualifies as a nihilistic version of Juno. Theron comes on all wisecracking and aren't-we-clever, but don't be surprised if you find yourself a little moved by the end.

One of the funniest comedies of the year, Young Adult's smart script and direction are matched by assured performances in adult comedy drama. A smart and very funny indie comedy that features a razor-sharp screenplay and an outstanding cast. As directed by Reitman, the movie builds from sitcom setups to wistful payoffs. A smart yet sensitive film, more an adult drama with believable American adults rather than TV-perfect The Real Housewives types. Though, the film features occasionally clever dialogue but the premise fails to be either funny enough to satisfy. The film may look like Juno's adult sister, but it couldn't quite best it on all fronts from jokes to emotional insight. The film conveys the soul of an artist, and Cody's screenplay brings to this material a certain edge, a kind of gleeful relish, that's uncompromising. This isn't your assembly-line adult comedy drama.

Simon says Young Adult receives: