YOUNG ADULT is a terrific comedy-drama directed by Jason Reitman who gave us UP IN THE AIR and JUNO. The screenplay is by Diablo Cody who wrote JUNO.
Charlize Theron plays an unhappy, massively deluded woman in her 30's who wants to recapture her high school glory days when she was a prom queen and her boyfriend was a star athlete.
Theron is the shameless, self-centered, hard drinking Mavis Geary, a ghost writer of teenage romance novels, who's gone back to visit the small town she grew up in. Her purpose is to reconnect with that old boy friend who's now happily married.
At a local bar Mavis doesn't recognize the guy whose locker in high school was right next to hers.
Patton Oswalt is excellent as Matt Freehauf, the geeky former schoolmate who has permanent injuries from a hate crime attack that happened during his high school years. He's dazzled by how attractive Mavis is but still tries to talk some sense into her.
"Here's the deal," Mavis tells Matt. "Buddy Slade and I are meant to be together. I'm here to get him back."
"I'm pretty sure he's married," says Matt, "with a kid on the way."
"No, the kid's here," Mavis says. "I'm cool with that. I've got baggage too.
"I would keep all of this to yourself," Matt urges her. "I would find a therapist."
Mavis scoffs at the very idea of therapy.
Mavis is undeterred. Her cringe inducing behavior continues even when it's clear to everyone but her that the object of her affections is just not interested.
At a clothing store, Mavis tells a clerk, "I'm going to a rock concert with and old flame, and I think there's a chance we may reconnect."
"Let's show him what he's been missing," the clerk smiles.
"No," sneers Mavis. "He's seen me recently; he knows, but his wife hasn't seen me in awhile, so..."
When Mavis finally meets Buddy's wife and baby, she doesn't know how to act. "Here 'it' is," she says looking at the baby. Then, after an awkward pause, she adds, "adorable," forcing a phony smile.
YOUNG is a nearly flawless dark comedy. Theron's fine performance gets us to sympathize with a character we might otherwise detest.