Jason Reitman has been going strength to strength since his solid début feature Thank You For Smoking was released in 2005. Since then he's been consistently associated with award winning glory with the brilliantly quirky indie comedy Juno and one of the best films to feature George Clooney playing George Clooney in Up in the Air. It's a shame his dad made Ghostbusters otherwise Jason Reitman would be getting far more universal recognition! His latest film Young Adult sees him reunited with Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody for a tale which doesn't deviate too far from the formula of his past ventures but in his blogger's mind that isn't really a bad thing.
Young Adult tells the story of Mavis Gary, a divorced 37 year old writer of trashy teenage fiction, who decides to return to her home town in some haphazard bid to reunite herself with the man she fell in love with in high school. Seemingly the little technicality of him being happily married and now a father to a baby girl doesn't seem to phase her delusional trip of nostalgia.
Charlize Theron was genuinely terrific in the role as Mavis Gary if not entirely likeable. She's selfish, bratty, immature, and it's easy to see why she's so good at writing these works of fiction because she's never seemingly evolved from this mindset. Where the performance hits highs worthy of recognition is when the story goes deeper into her problems, the reason why she's so messed up and her depression and alcoholism come seeping to the surface so much. It all climaxes in one truly cringe worthy disastrous confrontation with a large number of people from her past life in the town.
Also deserved of plaudits was Patton Oswalt as the old high school nerd from Mavis' days and the only one she truly connects with the most since coming back to her home town. In a way they both act as a mirror for each other, still nursing old wounds from their high school days, and never really growing from them. You had to feel sorry for Patrick Wilson's character who was sort of oblivious (or was he?) to the irrational perving Mavis was doing to him while his wife was in the room.
Visually Reitman seemed to implored the same grungey, visual flair used in Juno while attaining a bit of the disconnected atmosphere he used so brilliantly in Up in the Air. In many ways the film's conclusion - which I won't purposely spoil - kind of mimics the closing moments of Up in the Air in the resolution of its central character.
Young Adult is a tidy and enjoyable film featuring a brilliant performance from Charlize Theron as the self absorbed "psychotic prom queen bitch" Mavis Gary. It may not deviate too far from other films penned by Diablo Cody, but it's without doubt her most mature outing to date. Darkly humorous and profoundly tragic.
Young Adult is in selected cinemas throughout the UK from February 3rd 2011.