Sunday, March 18, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: Young Adult

2011, Jason Reitman (Juno, Thankyou For Smoking) -- download

So, in high school were you in the Popular Crowd or the Geeks? Or perhaps a Jock or a Metal Head? Did it leave such an impression on your life that everything since has been a shadow?  No, me neither.  I was less a geek and more just invisible.  Once high school was done, high school was done.  I rarely look back and I have never been to a reunion. The funny thing is that I cannot even imagine there were a few so popular, so unpopular that they are ever wrapped up in the past.  But it does make for good drama.

Young Adult is a Diablo Cody story so expected to have quick dialog and a current feel to it. But surprisingly, it was just unadorned and well written. It is straight forward and not shirking in what it wants to say.  The past is the past and the past is ... done?  You see, Mavis was the high school sweetheart, the beautiful girl who all the guys wanted and many of the girls hated. She wanted nothing but to be out of her small Minneapolis suburb  and in the big city.  And she got that, a successful writer for a popular series of high school based young adult novels. Alas, life isn't so perfect --- divorced, constantly drunk and (like all writers in movies) behind on her latest book.  There is also a bit more heaviness to her life, given the way she reacts to an email from her high school beau announcing the birth of his son. So, into her mini she goes, with her mini dog and mega attitude, to return home and ... well, we aren't quite sure what but it won't be pretty.

Pretty.  Well, for gawd's sake it's Charlize Theron so even at her worst she is just gorgeous.  Even in sweats and Ugs, she shines.  But as the story progresses, my does that shine show tarnish.  You see, Mavis is pretty messed up.  Sure, she believes she can drag her old beau away from his wife and child.  That's not it.  Sure, she gets drunk every evening with the high school geek who was gay-bashed, even though he was not gay.  That's not it.  Sure she pulls at her hair creating an ugly bald spot. But what makes her completely broken is that she doesn't understand an iota that this is not how people act.  She is so strong in her belief of being entitled to Buddy Slade that she doesn't care what others think, not even what he thinks. She thinks it is her right.  Will she ever learn?  Will she every get it ?  I sorely doubt it. We spend the entire movie just feeling sorry for her and me, for one, not so enamoured of her good looks once we get to know her. Despite good council from her only friend (??) Matt and the truth being tossed in her face, she just soldiers on with ill conceived plan until it implodes.