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Wick's Review

Created Dec 27, 2011 06:30PM PST • Edited Jul 15, 2013 09:21AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Deadly funny, Young Adult expertly skewers shallow Americana, especially the self-absorbed who drift through the sports bars, Hampton Inns and chain stores that delineate it. Nearly every scene tickles. Many are provocatively LOL, especially effective on those of us with a taste for really smart black humor.

    Three superior talents make the movie. Golden star Charlize Theron plays a “Prom Queen Bitch from Hell” with perfect pitch. Writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman prove that the sensibility behind Juno, their whip-smart take on contemporary female adolescence, is extensible to the arrested development of post-post-adolescence, or whatever you call a 39 year old who acts like an amoral twenty-something.

    Mavis Gary – the “Prom Queen Bitch from Hell” – returns to her small hometown to reclaim an old boyfriend, notwithstanding that he’s married with a new baby. Between bouts of home-wrecking and boozing, she eavesdrops on snatches of girlish conversations as fodder for the Young Adult novels she writes. The literary heroine she creates is beautiful, popular and deserving – her self-image to a tee.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Charlize Theron’s triply brilliant performance is better even than the Monster role that earned her an Oscar. Being beautiful, being Charlize Theron beautiful, this star knows the power of beauty, so must fight her own Mavis Gary tendencies. Monster’s Aileen Wuornos – anything but beautiful – was just a role.

    Theron’s performance communicates on three levels: how she acts towards other people, how she thinks she’s getting over, and how deluded both those are. Triply brilliant acting!

    Declared a Prom Queen Bitch from Hell by a friend of the wife she’s trying to wrong, I’d like to declare her the Taxi Driver Prom Queen Bitch from Hell. Why Taxi Driver? De Niro’s Travis Bickle didn’t know he was crazy, even after it became apparent to those around him and those viewing the movie. Same with Theron’s Mavis Gary. She doesn’t know she’s crazy till she hits rock bottom, and even then she gets in her drunk-damaged car and drives away.

    The rest of the cast takes a back seat to her glimmering brilliance.

    • Patton Oswalt deftly underplays a physically damaged guy who’s clinging to a semblance of decency in the face of alcoholic and sexual intoxication.
    • Patrick Wilson plays yet another lovable studmuffin, though not quite to the level of the one he played in Little Children.
    • Elizabeth Reaser is quite appealing as his well-grounded wife. This TV star deserves more big screen roles.
    • Collette Wolfe demonstrates quicksilver comedic timing as a thirtysomething who falls into bitchy schoolgirl behavior. She also impressed in Observe and Report.
    • Jill Eikenberry makes a welcome showing for all of us old L.A. Law fans.
    • Let’s hear it for Kate Nowlin, Jenny Dare Paulin and Rebecca Hart, who along with Elizabeth Reaser play the four moms in Nipple Confusion, the coolest band this side of maternity.

    There are also several great cameo players: Louisa Krause’s jaded Hampton Inn clerk, Elizabeth Ward Land’s horrified Macy’s clerk, John Forest’s upbeat paraplegic.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0

    Give Charlize Theron another Oscar!

  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    Four years after Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman delivered Juno, they’ve delivered a sordidly adult version in Young Adult. Juno 20 years later, with a bad booze problem, albeit that Juno herself was a good person whereas Young Adult’s Mavis Gary is a sociopath.

    Her booze problem plays more as a character problem than a “drinking problem,” one of the film’s many penetrating insights. Wanna know what kind of stories former glamour queens tell at AA meetings? These are them, albeit punched up to a Hollywood level of glibness.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0

    Young Adult is another Great American Movie from Jason Reitman, one year after Up In The Air, his last G.A.M. At this point, Ivan Reitman is best described as Jason’s Dad rather than Jason described as Ivan’s son.

  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    Diablo Cody is such a trenchant writer about mean girls and their milieus.

  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    The battle of the babes over the song they have with their common man, their song for each with him, is terrifically well played out. What a kicker! What song? Teenage Fanclub’s The Concept.

  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.5

    Full blown alcoholism gets vividly depicted via a high functioning drunk whose liver takes a beating even if her face and body barely reflect the ravages. Wow. The movie’s not advised for regretful AA members or those who haven’t forgiven them.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.3
  16. Violence Gentle 1.5
  17. Rudeness Nasty 3.7
  18. Glib 1.2
  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.2
  20. Biological Glib 1.4
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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Aug 4, 2012 2:11PM

Regarding BrianSez’s Review
Another spot-on review Bri.