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Film Review of Young Adult

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Young Adult is a horribly depressing yet weirdly touching and critically acclaimed black comedy starring Charliz Theron. She portrays Mavis, a formerly popular high school gal in her late 30s, who is an author of a cancelled series of young adult books. She decides after receiving a picture of her ex-beau Buddy Bradely's new go back home to Mercury, Minnesota to win him back. Even though he's happily married to a teacher who performs in a really bad girl band on the side. Because you know envy and destiny and that stuff. Plus mid-life crisis.

It reminds me a little of Bridesmaids, except without the likable characters and not funny, pathetic yes, funny no. For a while I just wanted to smack everybody. Then we got to follow her to her parents home and discover she's divorced, and her parents aren't exactly supportive and a bit narcissistic too. Elizabeth Resizer (who appears to be guest-starring in everything while simultaneously performing on Broadway) plays Buddy (Patrick Wilson)'s mousy and somewhat perfect wife Beth. Theron is insanely photogenic which actually works in this movie - because you can at least mildly enjoy watching her make an ass out of herself. Also there's something mildly comforting about a published writer, in her 30s, who is insanely attractive ...depressed and pathetic. Patton Osswalt plays her confident, who is in the Jimmy Cricket role of a conscience.

As the film rolls on, much like Bridesmaids, it becomes oddly touching and somewhat bittersweet. The relationship between Patton Oswalt's Mac and at its' heart, along with Mac's sister Sandra who worshiped Mavis in high-school. Mac pulls back the veil on high school. Telling Mavis how horribly beaten up he was by those jocks that pulled into him the woods - he walks with a permanent limp, and pees sideways. (I suppose that's supposed to be funny, but I found it horrifying instead.). And how Mavis, who believes she was at her best back then - and that's why she wished to be back with Buddy...was really just into herself, much as she is now. He tells her all she looked at back then was the mirror in her locker. After humiliating herself at Buddy's baby shower, which his wife cruelly invited her too out of pity, Mavis shows up at Mac's door and they make love, as a desperate act of mutual comfort. The next morning she climbs the stairs, wonders aloud how people in Mercury do it - how are they happy? And Sandra gives her a pep talk. Stating that from Sandra's perspective, Mavis has a wonderful life. She looks great, she can wear amazing clothes, she's written several books and gotten them published and she lives in the city, goes to great restaurants...has a wonderful life. Fuck Mercury. And Mavis realizes Sandra's she takes her little dog and her broken car which she drunkenly had crashed into a steel divider and drives home. On the way she completes the final novel of her series.

Throughout the film...snippets from the YA novel she's writing are shared in a voice-over narrative. The last line is about packing up from high school, moving on with one's life and never looking back. And well she kills off the beau in the book she'd based on Buddy.

The movie is basically about female mid-life crisis, much like Bridesmaids was. Being single and getting older, without the kid, the family, etc. Although this one was weirdly bitter-sweet and somewhat pathetic, about a narcissistic 37 year old woman having a mid-life crisis. There's a moment, a brief one, where she obtains a smattering of self-awareness and looks to be on the verge of an epithany or a nervous breakdown, not sure which...but then it passes.

There've been other films in this particular trope, better ones - such as Rachel Griffifs - Me, Myself and I, and Jill Clayburgh's - An Unmarried Woman, as well as the 1970s classic Dairy of a Mad Housewife. Most of these films were actually done in the 1970s, with the exception of Rachel Griffis, Me, Myself and I. Which may explain why they reference as the closing song..."When We Grow Up" from Free to Be You and Me - as sung by a young Roberta Flack and Michael Jackson.