Another collaboration between Diablo Cody and director Jason Riteman after "Juno", "Young Adult" is a tonally similar comedy/drama staring Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary, a ghost writer for a tremendously popular franchise of young adult novels. She's unhappy, but rather than be inwardly unhappy, she chooses to redirect her upset outward towards the rest of the world. The character is deeply unlikable, awkward and generally unpleasant to most people she comes across.
While she was once the popular girl, it clearly didn't lead to happiness. When the chance presents itself, she heads back home to her small Minnesota town in an attempt to try and get back with her ex-boyfriend (Patrick Wilson), who is how married and has a child. Trying to stop her from her quest is Matt (Patton Oswalt), the guy who she never paid attention to in high school, despite the fact that their lockers were next to each other.
The picture is subdued and subtle. While there are some laughs, they're small, dry and sometimes uncomfortable. Theron may not have been the best choice for the role, but she gives the rather hardened, rather unfeeling character her all, and she's really best against Oswalt, as the two make an unexpectedly amusing team.
The writing does get some fine one-liners across, but there are some character moments that aren't entirely believable. Additionally, while the picture's dry humor is certainly an acceptable choice, patches seemed a little too dry. Oddly, while watching the picture, I thought it would make for a particularly enjoyable small-town drama/comedy show on the small screen.
Overall, "Young Adult" is a little more dramatic than the advertising would have suggested and while I had a few issues with the picture (including some slow patches and a few character actions that didn't feel believable), but it was otherwise another good film from the combination of Cody and Reitman.
VIDEO: "Young Adult" gets a very nice transfer from Paramount, with the 1.85:1 presentation looking smooth and clean. While the picture does have a very cool, subdued color palette, the transfer represents the picture accurately. A few minor instances of edge enhancement were hardly noticeable, and no smearing or other faults were noticed. Overall, certainly a solid result from the studio.
SOUND: The DTS-HD 5.1 presentation sounded reasonably good, with clear, clean dialogue. This is certainly a dialogue-driven effort, with limited use of the surrounds - the rear speakers only pop in for some minor ambience and reinforcement of the music.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, filmmaker commentary from director Jason Reitman and crew and a "scene deconstruction" documentary.
Final Thoughts: It isn't going to be everyone's cup-of-tea, but "Young Adult" is a generally well-written and well-acted blend of drama and comedy from the "Juno" writer and director. The Blu-Ray offers a nice set of extras, as well as fine audio/video quality.
The Film B-