A longtime HE confidante caught a research screening last night of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody‘s Young Adult, which Paramount will release sometime after Labor Day (probably with a kickoff screening in Telluride). I’m not going to share his reactions except to say that (a) the recently-reported-about narration by J.K. Simmons was not heard during the showing in Pasadena, and (b) the film sounds like something of a brave departure for Reitman and Cody in that the screenplay is on the raw and gnarly side in a somewhat “dislikable,” non-backrubby Greenberg vein. I mean that as a good thing.
I’m writing this, of course, as someone who loved every minute of Greenberg. I’m implying that people who go to movies looking for an emotional quaalude experience may encounter some speed bumps with this. Or so I’ve been told.
I haven’t read the script, but this guy’s impression (along with the impressions of others online) is that Young Adult doesn’t offer the usual forms of emotional comfort and/or assurance, which Reitman arguably did provide in Thank You For Smoking, Juno and Up In The Air. But Charlize Theron may come away with laurels for her performance, and Cody could rack up some awards for her script. Maybe. I know that it sounds more mature and blistering and unadorned (i.e., less in the way of slangy smartass dialogue) than anything she’s written so far.
Young Adult has been repeatedly described as vaguely reflective of (if not literally channeling) Cody’s own Midwestern history, and basically being about an unstable, divorced, semi-alcoholic teen-market book writer (Theron) stalking her ex-high school boyfriend (Patrick Wilson) in a small Minnesota town, with Wilson now married and expecting a baby and not receptive for obvious reasons, and with Theron exhibiting some fairly alarming fucked-up behavior. The film is apparently comedic in a quasi-Sideways or Greenberg-y vein, but also dark and not what your typical mellow-vibe Up In The Air admirer would call divertingly cheerful.
The costars are Elizabeth Reaser (as Wilson’s wife) and Patton Oswalt.