The central problem for why “Young Adult” is so terrible is that its protagonist is loathesome.
I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, but I no longer find someone drinking too much, acting out when drunk, or acting out when seriously love-addicted, to be a funny thing. I cannot root for this person, other than to root that they seriously find rehab soon.
Our lead, Mavis Gary, is hell-bent on her own destruction, chasing down her “true love,” who is happily married and just had a child. She plans to steal him away. This never goes well, nor is it a viable plot premise anymore, I would argue.
(I found Julia Roberts similarly reprehensible in “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” though her guy was not quite married yet in that one. No matter, same conniving horribleness at hand.)
So, beautiful statuesque Charlize Theron (who does give this part the old college try) drinks way too much. In real life, if someone drank as much as she did, she would not be in any semblance of shape, certainly would not have the flawless skin that she has (no matter how many facials she received; the movie shows us no less than three times that she gets manis and pedis and spends a lot of time with her hair and face). No, in fact a woman who drinks like this would be already developing that bulbous red nose thing that many full-blown alcoholics get.
But then, this is a romantic comedy right, with the guy who’s not the guy she’s chasing whom she’s supposed to fall in love with. And SPOILER they don’t. She spends most of her time bending his ear about her totally-in denial love addiction plan. He tells her she’s crazy and needs therapy (true!). After making a complete fool of herself later, she consents to sloppy last-stand sex with him, and leaves him and his sister (“Take me with you!” she demands; Mavis doesn’t, with the cold line, “No, you’re good here.” Here being their vapid small town.)
Just a loathesome person from start to finish, who learns nothing along the way.
Other actors: Patrick Wilson as the “true love” is wonderful. Elizabeth Reaser (what is with her as “the other woman”? Between this and “The Good Wife,” sheesh), but she’s also wonderful as the man’s wife.
Even Patton Oswalt, getting more and more juicy roles in cinema, is quite the charmer.
I loved “Juno.” Normally, I like Diablo Cody. Didn’t like this. Normally, I like Jason Reitman, the director. Didn’t like this.
(Although the nihilistic end of the world Kendra-Kardashian double bill on her TV screens was a wonderful touch.)
This movie is really best avoided. Unlike you like loud mouthy desperate out of control love-addicted alcoholics. Then, you might find this a laugh riot. Me, I like to like my protagonists.
Or, you might wanna really punish yourself. Go see this on a double feature with that sex addiction movie, Shame. Fun times!