Feature

Young Adult

Charlize Theron plays a mean girl who returns home to win back her boyfriend in the new screenplay by Diablo Cody.

Directed by Jason Reitman(R)

***

This “edgy, subversive” film “undercuts the conventions of female-centered comedies at each turn,” said Colin Covert in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Most impressively, it “manages to keep us invested” in the story about a “thoroughly unpleasant protagonist.” A brave Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a former prom queen who became a writer of young adult novels in the big city but also became a cruel alcoholic. When she learns that her high school boyfriend has had a baby, she returns to her small Minnesota hometown to win him back. Screenwriter Diablo Cody, who won an Oscar for Juno, “specializes in unusual characters who say unexpected things at their own peril,” said Rex Reed in The New York Observer. The results here are uneven, with some of Mavis’s erratic behavior—including a climactic drunken tirade—feeling orchestrated. Still, Theron is “funny and surprising,” said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. It’s a tribute to her “fearless reach and formidable range” that a portrait that begins as wry comedy morphs into “something perilously close to an American tragedy.”

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