Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., March 27
Review: Young Adult
Ah, never mind. The capsule does a decent enough job. Just a couple of things.
First: good gravy, was that trailer ever misleading. This is not a comedy, people. And while there are clearly moments designed to make you laugh, it's not a dramedy, either. This is a straight trip down Harrowing Lane, one woman's vivisection splayed out between the covers of a YA novel-in-progress. Ain't nothing funny about having a bald patch because you compulsively pull out your own hair. Patton Oswalt may be a comedian, but here, every attempt he makes at humor is an attempt to drag a rapidly worsening situation back from the brink: that of a 37-year-old failure who decides to fix her own life by destroying a few others.
"Every generation gets the screenwriter it deserves," I said to the publicist after seeing Young Adult. For me and mine, and for better and for worse, it might just be Diablo Cody. She's clearly grown as a writer since Juno, both in terms of character and narrative complexity. And with the ending of this film, she seems to be staking her claim for Gen X and its bruised, little-kid heart. It's all humming along, just the way you'd expect for a film that has asked you to play along with a vain, bitter narcissist like Mavis, when BLAMMO - it takes a stunning turn for the nihilistic. At first, I was offended - this is just perverse. Then I was grudging - okay, it made sense, both in terms of character and story. But still. Was that really necessary? Now, I'm not sure: I might just be admiring. I think Diablo Cody really does not believe that happy endings are possible for people who are damaged in their youth, and that people who say otherwise are just as deluded as the heroine of this film. It's practically Greek in its bleakness, all the more so for being set in the happy, placid Midwest.
What say you all?
More like this:
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- Interview with Samsara producer Mark Magidson and director Ron Fricke — Sept. 7, 2012
- Horror-Cultural Literacy? — March 23, 2012
- Support Your Local Film Festival and Art House: Give the Gift of Movies — Dec. 16, 2011
- Funny People like John Hughes — Aug. 10, 2009