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Young Adult (DQ)


Stars: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Collette Wolfe, Jill Eikenberry, Richard Bekins

Director: Jason Reitman

A quasi-famous writer of 'young adult' (teenage) fiction, Mavis Gary (Theron) has a failed marriage and a series of depressing relationships behind her, Alcoholic, neurotic and borderline psychotic, she ups and leaves her latest partner, and heads for her home town of Mercury, where she launches a hare-brained scheme to get her old lover Buddy (Wilson) back.

Buddy is married to Beth (Reaser) with a new-born baby, but Mavis throws herself at him all the same - we feel as uncomfortable about this as everyone else - and expects him to leave wife and child on the spot.

All this, alas, is marginally unbelievable and rarely comes across as real. Do people actually say such things as 'Yes, you're divorced, dear. But the wedding wasn't a failure...remember the tiramisu?' I think not. And, though the writing is otherwise clever - loved the maternity store called Buy Buy Baby - and Theron's performance shows great skill, the film, like her character, doesn't really get anywhere.

You kind of vaguely hope she might go berserk with a hatchet at the end, but a few choice-four-letter words are all she manages to fling at the good folk of Mercury before making an abrupt exit.

Meanwhile, the fat disabled guy (Oswalt) she knew from college, who gives us rather too much information about the gang assault that crippled him sexually and physically, is meant to be sympathetic, but doesn't manage to be any more likeable than most of the chilly people on display here.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
93 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 29 Jan 2012