Growing up is complicated. Being a miserable bitch trying to avoid growing up seems even more complicated. For our leading lady, using the term loosely, finding some happiness becomes a quest to get back her high school sweetheart. What we find along her journey are a few things. First, that sweetheart doesn’t have the same attachment to those memories as she does. Next, her snotty attitude doesn’t make people envious of her looks and “success”, they are just annoyed and even pity her at times. Last but not least, if someone truly is a vapid human being, empty and soulless they will do anything to fill that gap even if it’s highly inappropriate and humiliating.
The funny part of this character is that she’s fully aware of her misery, grasping for a fix. She announces to her parents that she thinks she’s an alcoholic. They laugh in that sort of middle-age parent who has heard it all from this particular offspring kind of way and keep eating their supper without really taking her seriously. She gives some of her secrets to a dude she want to high school with, but he was one of THOSE people who wasn’t a popular kid so she only remembers the most horrific part of his life. This is another thing about this movie we learn, that it’s OK to say things that other people find inappropriate. She and her new/old unpopular friend have a good time poking fun at the “happiest cripple” around, being annoyed by people’s tragedies, and wallowing in their own dysfunction as the ex-popular girl and the dude who got beat up by the jocks for being gay…but he’s not gay. It sounds a little twisted, and that’s where the awkward humor comes in and charges the movie with some of those laughs you enjoy but feel a bit guilty about.
Our leading lady and the whole cast are really tuned into what the movie is about. I was convinced completely that her parents were her parents the way they react to her every little whim and dismiss her appropriately. The way the community people react to the ex-popular girl, bitchy show off coming back to town is sooooooo real. It’s clear they have all been through it on one side or another.
The music is fun and fits just right, as our main cast were teenagers in the 90’s. The directing is very straight forward, nothing fancy. The sets, the places, the town, it’s all exactly right for the tone of this “big city girl makes it mediocre and comes back to her hometown to suffer the indignity of being from her hometown”. Theron’s wardrobe is borderline genius. She goes from sweat pants and no make-up to an almost first-ladyesque and even a hot sassy little black dress stuck in there for more glamour and contrast to the unglamourousness of the truth of the character.
I’ll let you watch the movie and find out which moments are stunning and which are simply fun and entertaining. Young Adult is a soul searching movie that doesn’t find much soul but in the process finds a lot of humor, honesty and reality to layer on top of this fictional midwest story.
- Filmmaker Commentary – Director Jason Reitman & DP Eric Steelberg deliver a pedestrian commentary, they do cover some of the making of the movie but in general they seem like they would rather be somewhere else.
- Misery Loves Company: The Making Of Young Adult – A 17 minute making of with lots of interviews with Cast & Crew. Diablo Cody goes into detail on her writing process which is certainly getting better as she ages.
- The Awful Truth: Deconstructing A Scene – Diablo Cody deconstructs a scene right in front of your very eyes.
- Deleted Scenes – Six deleted scenes that actually could be in the movie they are so good.
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
I’m not chuckling at the attempted cover humor. My apologies for not being amused, but that’s how it goes. It’s got more personality that most covers so I give the credit for that, but the overall image is not living up to the heart and black soul of this character:) I wouldn’t have it as a poster, that’s for sure. The menu is navigation, that’s about it.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Young Adult’s 1.78:1 transfer is not a showcase but does capture the source elements perfectly. The movie has a very real look to it and that comes across perfectly thanks to the AVC encode. Fine lines on Theron’s makeupless face and lots of detail in the darker scenes. If you were a fan of Young Adult during it’s theatrical run you will be very pleased with Paramount’s home debut of the movie.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is very subdued, Young Adult is a talky movie and the soundtrack hardly ever comes from the rear speakers. Still what is here is a pristine sounding track that never muffles any of the dialog, which after all is the most important thing. The movie has a ton of Quiet scenes, especially the opening, and this track handles quiet very very well, no hiss no buzz just the smooth sounds of nothing.
Hmmm I do find this to be a great go-to movie for a certain kind of humor and life affirmations that don’t come along in most comedies. I don’t think it’s worth a purchase for me though. I would like to know it’s available for rental when I want to watch it again, or just watch it on Netflix. So, if you are a Theron fan and need to have her on your shelf in all her movie forms, go for it. Everyone else can take the short cut and enjoy the extra cash for a big bottle of diet Coke….watch the movie to understand that cryptic reference:)
Overall Score 7/10