Young Adult (8/10)
By Tony Medley
Runtime 94 minutes.
Not for children.
Diablo Cody could be the best scriptwriter in
Hollywood. After her ground breaking debut with Juno, now she
follows up with a tale about a dysfunctional, gorgeous young woman
approaching middle-age, Charlize Thereon. This starts out to be a story
about an unhappy young woman who returns to her small town where she was
the beauty Queen while in high school. There she sets out to take her
high school beau away from his wife.
While this might sound as a standard soap opera, it
is anything but. As this movie progresses it becomes deeper and deeper.
Buttressed by an outstanding cast with terrific performances by Patrick
Wilson as the object of her affections, and Patton Oswalt, as her former
high school nerd classmate with whom she becomes reacquainted in a bar.
Watching Thereon pursue Wilson as her relationship
with Oswalt develops is a thing of beauty. But better than the acting,
the film is a thought-provoking study of the morality of a young woman
who, in the eyes of her contemporaries, has everything. Directed by
Jason Reitman, with whom Cody collaborated on Juno, all three
give award – quality performances. Also contributing with a fine
performance as Wilson's wife is Elizabeth Reaser.
While this is a serious movie, there are some
uproarious lines in it. I'm told that the one I thought was the funniest
is in the movie's trailer. Had I heard it in the trailer, I wouldn't
have thought it funny, and it couldn't have had the impact seeing it in
the trailer, since is would be completely out of context. My feeling is
that the numbskulls who create the trailers for movies and either show
the entire story encapsulated into a minute or show the three or four
best lines in the movie should be subject to Capital Punishment without
benefit of trial. No trial is needed because there is no defense for
ruining a good movie by showing its best parts in a trailer.
While some movies rely on ridiculous but
eye-popping special effects or gutter language to keep the audiences
attention, this one relies on wonderful dialogue and a challenging
situation to do so, and this is a much more rewarding way to become
involved in a movie. While this might not be for everyone, it most
certainly was for me. I'd give Oscar® nominations for Cody, Reitman, and
the four leading cast members.