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YOUNG ADULT (USA/15A/94mins)
Directed by Jason Reitman. Starring Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt, Elizabeth Reaser, Collette Wolfe, Jill Eikenberry.
THE PLOT: Theron plays Mavis Gary, the girl – as it says on the poster – ‘you hated in high school’, and now a writer of teen novels who isn’t selling all that many books these days. Add to that a recent divorce, and suddenly the homecoming queen is in desperate need of some TLC. And she knows just the man to give it to her – her old high school sweetheart, Buddy (Wilson). The fact that Buddy is now a happily-married father doesn’t seem to bother Mavis all that much. “We can beat this thing together,” she tells an increasingly freaked out Buddy.
THE VERDICT: It’s been a while since anyone’s given a hoot about a Charlize Theron picture, thanks to forgettable fare such as Aeon Flux, Battle In Seattle and Hancock. Having become more famous for her product endorsements than her work, it was clear this Oscar winner needed to add a little street cred to her CV. With Young Adult, box-office is plainly not the main consideration. A $12million budget means Theron wouldn’t have to knock Tom Cruise off the no.1 spot over Christmas in the US to make a profit. Nope, this is a film that aims for quality rather than quantity, Theron teaming up with the directing and writing team behind Juno – Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, respectively - for a tale that’s even more knowingly cool, quirky and cruel. And the critics have been lapping it up. Still, it somehow falls short of its promising premise, something that might just be reflected in the film’s cold shoulder by the Oscar grouches. RATING: 3/5
Review by Paul Byrne
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