Warning: Spoilers. It does not really matter, though.
Gonna break from my usual method of writing some thoughts then giving a "score." Here's the score first this time.
2 out of 5; the only thing saving this movie from 0 is some pretty good acting and some dark humor that's actually funny.
It took me a few days to decide on this movie. I wanted to like it. At the end of the day(s), though, I just couldn't.
The problem with this movie, written by JUNO writer Diablo Cody, is that it's written by JUNO writer Diablo Cody. It's the same story, but without the "quirky" novelty. And without any of the quality of JUNO -- and from some perspectives, that's really, really saying something.
JUNO had a young girl facing growing up due to an unwanted pregnancy. YOUNG ADULT has an arrested adolescent woman facing growing up because the wife of her ex boyfriend from High School/College just had a baby. Gee, Cody....branch out on the plot lines much?
JUNO shines (for me) because although Juno seems so hip, so with it, so world-wise, we can tell she's only fooling herself. She knows nothing of the real, grown-up world, and while she "schools" the adults in the film, we see the train wreck that will ultimately come. True, the train never actually hits her during the movie, but at least we hear it whistle as it speeds by, outside the movie, mocking Juno (and us?) with its near miss.
In other words...Juno had a character arc. She may have been annoying, but she changed during the course of the movie. Not much, perhaps, but some. I'm trying to be generous.
Now, enter YOUNG ADULT's main character Mavis. Not one likable quality about the character even though she's played EXTREMELY well (better than this movie deserves) by Charlize Theron. In fact, there's not one single likable character in this movie, except perhaps Patton Oswalt's Matt.
But let's stick with Mavis. She's trying to destroy a marriage to satisfy her own complete and utter deficiency as a human being. She knows she's doing it, she wants to do it, and at one point, says to the husband, "We can BEAT THIS!" referring, of course, to his marriage and happy family life as if it were disease.
Am I supposed to sympathize with anything this character says or does? I hate her. Passionately...I hate her.
But the real problem is that Mavis undergoes no arc whatsoever in the course of this 90 minute...er, train wreck. She's awful at the beginning and she's awful at the end. The closest she comes to garnering sympathy is when she tells her parents that she thinks she might be an alcoholic.
This admission, in typical Cody-parent-writing style, goes completely past them. They laugh and say, "Very funny." Uh, wow. Look at her! Her hangover is a visible pall over her head and she MUST reek of last night's indulgence! For crying out loud!
She craps all over everyone the entire movie...including her ex (Buddy), Matt (the only person showing her any real human kindness at all) and Matt's sister, who is willing to sell her soul make Mavis feel better about herself. Wait...why is she friends with Matt to begin with? Why is he friends with her? It makes no sense. In other words, this relationship between the two of them is COMPLETELY contrived.
Matt is supposed to represent Mavis' moral conscience, but he fails miserably. It's the reason I cannot even get on board with him as a decent character. At the beginning, he tells her she cannot do what she's doing...that it is wrong. But then he helps her. She treated him like crap in high school and is showing no signs of doing better now, but is he helping her because he was the fat nerdy kid and she was the prom queen? Did he feel lucky just to be talking to her?
That's how Cody would have us believe adults act...um, 20 years after high school. Right. What delusional TWILIGHT-esque world does she live in, anyway?
I don't get it. What is the point of a story in which none of the characters DO anything....literary? The GROOVE TUBE had more character development in 90 second skits than this whole movie does. I care more about Koko the Clown and what is going to happen during Make Believe Time.
The big reveal near the end of the movie...that Mavis lost a child to miscarriage, goes so completely unremarked for any of the rest of the plot (and none of the characters cared)....I was so sick of this stupid character and her crap that the reveal was just one more annoyance. I wanted to shout, "OH REALLY!" Not in sympathy for the character, but in exasperation in what other horse feces is this movie going to add to the pile?
No really. Here's the closing sequence of the last act.
Beth and Buddy had invited Mavis to their child's naming ceremony/party at their home, during which Mavis tries to get Buddy to leave his wife and child to be with her. He declines. She gets smashing drunk (like she did every single night the movie takes place) and on the front yard, in front of the entire party, she gets into a yelling match with Beth (while Buddy is inside preparing a special gift for Beth...so he misses it) and Mavis acts like a total heel.
She reveals her miscarriage and no one cares. Buddy reveals the special gift. They yell/fight some more. Mavis leaves the party, goes to Matt, screws him (why?), insults his sister and leaves to head back to the city. She justifies all the crap she's dropped on everyone as part of her own personal growth.
Yes. That's how much weight the miscarriage has. A stupid attempt at plot device to get sympathy for a totally evil character.
2 out of 5. Solid acting on the part of Oswalt and Theron, and some funny dark humor. But really, don't waste your time or money on this....nonsense.
Oh man...I just noticed thanks to IMDB that Cody is writing on the EVIL DEAD remake! Ho-Ly Crap.