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Young Adult
Don Fowler

???

(Unlikable character/downer of a story)

"Young Adult" is a strange movie and a strange choice for release at Christmas time.

Charlize Theron plays a mentally unbalanced woman who returns to her hometown in a desperate attempt to win back her high school boyfriend, who just happens to be happily married with a new baby.

After seeing the previews, we thought this one was a comedy. In fact, it is a real tragedy.

Mavis (Theron) is a drunken, delusional manipulator who is convinced that Buddy (Patrick Wilson) still loves her. She is divorced, 37 years old, living in Minneapolis, and a ghost writer of teenage girls' novels ... and living in one big fantasy land. We didn't like Mavis very much and found it difficult to muster up any sympathy for her, especially after her quest turned so mean-spirited. We also found it difficult to believe Buddy's naiveté.

And then there is Matt (Patton Oswalt), a handicapped man who had the locker next to Mavis in high school, yet she never knew he existed. The two develop a strange bond, as he tries to dissuade her from her goal. Matt had been severely beaten by fellow students who accused him of being gay. We watch these two opposite personalities bond in a strange way. Both are in need of some therapy.

The movie did hold our interest, even though we weren't enamored with the story or the characters. When the confrontation between Mavis and Buddy finally hits the fan, we are subject to one of the most mean-spirited scenes I can remember, making us cringe a bit.

There are a few twists at the end, but they only cause us to question Mavis' sanity and character even more. As much as we disliked the movie, we were drawn into its psychological subject matter.

If you don't care about being uplifted and will settle for a story with little redeeming qualities, you may want to view it as a study of a very disturbed woman.

For these reasons, we find it difficult to give it anything other than ???. We can tell you that the older audience at the matinee showing did not seem to like it at all.

Rated R, with sex, profanity and a big mean streak.


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