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This review is from: Young Adult [DVD]  (DVD)
Young Adult is a car crash of a film. Starring Charlize Theron as Mavis Gray, a fiction writer from Mercury, Minnesota, returning to her roots. Mavis has hit the big time - moving to Minneapolis (the Mini Apple) and ghost writing teen fiction novels for a supermarket series. When she is invited back home for a baby shower, she decides to steal back her former boyfriend, Buddy Slade. There is no adequate explanation of why she wants to do this; no thought about what she would do with him if she succeeded - just a wish to do it for its own sake. Because that's the kind of girl she is.
The viewer knows this will not end well.
On her path to self-abasement, Mavis keeps running into Matt - the fat kid from school who was queerbashed and garnered great sympathy - until he came out as straight. Matt is a loser who treasures his many excuses for failure as they relieve him of the need to try. He lives with his sister Sandra and makes fantasy figure models. When he is daring, he creates hybrid fantasy figures. The contrast between Mavis and Matt is played to full effect
The humour in the film is principally in laughing at Mavis's lack of self awareness. Her achievements are so modest, her pride is so enormous, and her prospects are so small that she cannot fit in anywhere. In the Mini Apple she is a washed up failure; in Mercury she no longer fits in. But she acts as though she were a celebrity and seems surprised when nobody recognises her or, if they do, they don't swoon. It's not slapstick; it isn't easy gags with punchlines - but it is very funny, very black comedy.
Some reviewers have complained that Mavis is not likeable - but she was never supposed to be. Alternatively, they complain that she doesn't learn her lesson. Indeed she doesn't - but what lesson should she learn? She may be horrible, but the hicks in Mercury are still hicks - becoming more like them would not be a solution. Essentially, it is a bad situation that, short of a winning lottery ticket turning up, is unlikely to be improved.
Plus, if it had ended in redemption, we would have been denied the final scene - the funniest in the film - where we see that there is someone even more contemptible and pathetic than Mavis.
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Initial post: 3 Dec 2012 12:09:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Dec 2012 12:13:30 GMT
Nick D says:
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