EVERYONE would know a Mavis Gary type – the most loved (and loathed) girl in school.
Chances are, you either were just like her, hung out with someone just like her, or wanted to be just like her (as much as you absolutely despised her).
But what happened to Miss Popular once that final school bell sounded – did she go on to live the dream life?
Actually, it is highly probable that she became a delusional train-wreck, pathetically hanging onto fading memories of her adolescent glory days just like Mavis Gary does as the archetypal psycho-bitch in the cutting dark comedy Young Adult.
Young Adult opens with Mavis (a startling performance from likely Oscar nominee Charlize Theron) in the ‘Minnie-Apple’ (Minneapolis), where she lives in an apartment with her dog Dolce, ghost writes a young adult fiction series (think Sweet Valley High with a nasty streak), drinks from a big bottle of Coke first thing in the morning and watches trashy daytime TV. Oh, and pulls at her hair (life isn’t so swell for this one-time prom-queen).
When Mavis discovers her one-time flame Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) is a proud new dad, she heads back to her hometown of Mercury, Minnesota, hell bent on rescuing him from his “boring” family life, accompanied on the road trip by her pooch accessory and an old mix-tape from Buddy (a new millennium Mini Cooper with an actual cassette deck?!).
Writer Diablo Cody, who shot to fame with surprise indie hit Juno, has reunited with director Jason Reitman to bring to the big screen one of the most caustic characters since Shannen Doherty’s Heather Duke and her cohort of croquet mallet-wielding preppy schoolgirls in 1988 cult classic Heathers.
Only difference is, the three Heathers in Heathers were still in high school, which makes a supposed grown-up like Mavis Gary all the more disconcerting.
Cody’s script is fully loaded with biting one-liners and awkward moments that subvert Hollywood conventions – the final 20-minute stretch starts to elicit some sympathy for Mavis, but just when you think she has come out a better person, that lurking maliciousness creeps right back into this complex character that is equal parts loved and loathed.
YOUNG Adult (MA15+)
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt
Rating: Four stars
Reviewed by: Emilia Vranjes