What it’s all about
Mavis (Charlize Theron) is a ghost writer of a recently cancelled series of books aimed at youths (think Twi-shite without R-Pattz and K-Stew). After receiving an email from her ex, announcing the arrival of his new baby, she suddenly decides to go back to her hometown to try and win him back. Reasons for this become apparent throughout the course of the film so I shall not spoil it, suffice to say, it isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds.
Once there, Mavis becomes friends with Matt, a man she ignored at school, now disabled and just as hard-drinking as her, if not quite as unkind. She fills him on her plan, of which he naturally disapproves but she goes ahead anyway. The results are frequently hilarious and ultimately (rather predictably) not quite what Mavis had hoped for but force her to re-evaluate her life.
What’s to like
Charlize Theron. Academy Award winner Theron is on form (she rarely is out of it, in all honesty) as the childish, hard-drinking, selfish Mavis who goes from situation to situation in an outrageously egocentric fashion. Writer Diablo Cody (Juno) has brilliantly and bullishly created a character who is so lacking in likability and sympathy, she could almost be me! Fabulous!
Her lack of compassion for anyone around her forms the basis of the film and her cruel comments are hilariously executed.
What’s to dislike
I could write the same paragraph here because if acerbic put downs and cruel mocking of the overweight, the homosexual and the disabled communities are not for you then you’ll hate this film. Mavis is unpleasant and it is difficult to care what happens to her, which might hinder your enjoyment of Young Adult.
To Charlize or not to Charlize
Your decision to see Young Adult will depend on your humour, as outlined above. I personally enjoy a bit of acidic and cutting humour myself, so I loved it. You may not like Mavis (Cody seems unapologetic for this which makes the character even stronger) but you might come to understand her.