REVIEW: Young Adult

Young Adult
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Written by: Diablo Cody (screenplay)
Starring: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson and Collette Wolf

Mavis Gary is one of the most fully realized movie characters in recent memory, and certainly of 2011.  In the span of Young Adult’s 90 minutes, Diablo Cody’s writing, Jason Reitman’s directing and Charlize Theron’s acting fuse together seamlessly to show us her demented, delusional inner workings.

In an early scene, Mavis is going to meet up with an old flame from high school named Buddy (Patrick Wilson).  She enters this small town bar with a tight, skimpy black outfit.  As she looks around the bar, judging every other patron there, the camera shifts to a POV shot as if asking us to judge them too.  When the waiter comes to her table, she rudely tells him to take back the silverware and bring her a drink. Buddy enters, and she lights up with a grotesque fakeness that she dons almost as often as her snide glare.

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Image courtesy of Regrettable Sincerity

Big Fan
Directed by: Robert D. Siegel
Written by: Robert D. Siegel (screenplay)
Starring: Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport, and Marcia Jean Kurtz

We all have our obsessions.  Whether it be a sport, a hobby, a person or all three, each of us has something in our lives that we couldn’t get out of it if we wanted to.

This is the subject of Robert D. Siegel’s excellent, truthful, and unflinching Big Fan.  You may know Siegel’s previous writing work from 2008’s The Wrestler.  He doesn’t let the sympathy that partially diluted his character in that film interfere with his work here.  By keeping the camera low-key and the subject front-and-center, Mr. Siegel creates a portrait of obsession that is hilarious, sad, and disturbing.

Patton Oswalt, a comedian further showcasing his acting talent, plays Paul Aufiero, a die-hard New York Giants fan.  He and his friend Sal (Kevin Corrigan) go to Giants Stadium for every home game, not to go inside and watch but to sit outside their clunker car and listen to it on the radio.

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