Young Adult Painfully Funny

Charlize Theron stars in Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody film
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2011 11:18 AM CST

Young Adult, from the writer/director team behind Juno, stars Charlize Theron as a selfish thirtysomething returning to her hometown with the belief that she can win over her high school boyfriend—who's now married with a kid. Critics love it, though it can be hard to take:

  • The film "systematically demolishes a china shop full of shopworn sentimental touchstones about—for starters—high school, small-town life, heterosexuality, Minnesota, and the capacity of human beings to change, learn, and grow," notes AO Scott in a New York Times' Critics' Pick review.

  • "In this tale of stunted development, Theron is a comic force of nature, giving her character considerable density and humanity despite her monstrous aspects," observes Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. "But fair warning: The laughs in Young Adult leave bruises."
  • Several critics don't expect it to be an immediate fan favorite. "After the screening I attended, everyone on the elevator (other than me) was visibly angry about the movie they’d just watched. But I admired Young Adult for its chutzpah and Theron for her go-for-broke performance," writes Dan Kois in Slate.
  • In the Star Tribune, Colin Covert agrees. "Audiences may not embrace Mavis," Theron's character, "immediately—she's too spiky for that. But there's little doubt that in time she'll join Marge Gunderson and Juno McGuff as another of Minnesota's enduring and iconic film characters."
(More Charlize Theron stories.)

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