As an idea, Young Adult is a great story. Especially true these days with the rise of YA fiction as something throughout the culture thanks to book series such as The Hunger Games and Twilight and even Potter (though that is less YA and more general or younger focused depending on the discussion).
In execution, the movie is a view of a train wreck. It is painful and frustrating and just plain sad. I’ve continued to debate with myself over the ending… whether it indicates a change or a visual metaphor… but have yet to decide what I thought of it. If you’re in the mood, it isn’t a bad movie of this kind, but I can’t say it is one I’ll want to come back to despite some of the subtleties of the plot.
That said, you have to appreciate any performer who is willing to be truly ugly on stage or screen. Theron is always willing to go where the character demands, be it serial killer or just immature ex-cheerleader. And she does them exceedingly well. Much like Cameron Diaz, she is comfortable enough in her body to be unkempt in presentation and just plain foul in personage. Though, to be fair, Diaz always chooses characters that are redeemed or redeemable. Theron is willing to take on characters that aren’t or can’t be… which is a whole different level of bravery for a performer.
I concentrate on Theron here as she steals this movie despite a relatively solid supporting cast. Oswalt, though very good, is unfortunately only reprising his role from United States of Tara, which isn’t surprising as Cody wrote the screenplay and the series. I’d like to have seen him do more as he is a natural on film. Wilson, on the other hand, plays a delightfully confused and burdened young father/ex-boyfriend.
I wanted more from this movie than I got, but it went where it intended to go, and I have to respect Cody, the director, and the actors for taking the trip.