Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review: Young Adult

A dark comedy done right is a thing of terrible beauty.  When the mean-spirited, black heart of a deeply cynical film can be effectively punctuated with sharp, stab wound laughs, it becomes impossible to look away.  In Young Adult, director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody team up for the second time to bring us a nasty, brutish, and short portrait of a train wreck. While the formula is a familiar one built from rom-com cliches of boyfriend snatching and pining old flames, the script is phenomenally fresh and, frankly, outright ballsy. Cody has been criticized in the wake of Juno, accused of overwriting dialogue and ushering in a new era of overly glib screenwriting (amongst other sassy twee annoyances).  Yet, while I tired of Juno's cutesy teen pregnancy long ago, I have found myself admiring Cody's tenacity since.  She has a way of making us interested in unlikable characters.  "United States of Tara" frequently toed the line between good and evil in each member of its fractured family, making us hate them even as we sympathized.  Jennifer's Body dared to make a cheerleader queen bitch both villain and victim.  Young Adult goes the extra mile with Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron)...

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