Young Adult (2011)

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Released 16-May-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Black Comedy Audio Commentary-Director, Assistant and Cinematographer
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-Deconstructing A Scene
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 90:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jason Reitman
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Charlize Theron
Patton Oswalt
Patrick Wilson
Elizabeth Reaser
Collette Wolfe
Jill Eikenberry
Case ?
RPI ? Music Rolfe Kent


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English for the Hearing Impaired Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
Dutch
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Young Adult is the fourth directorial feature from American filmmaker Jason Reitman and the second featuring a collaboration with script writer, trend setter Diablo Cody. The first such collaboration, the irrepressible Juno was an enormous hit both with the critics and the public. His next film Up in the Air was also well received at the box office and in critics’ circles. Young Adult was no great success with the public although it was still loved by the critics. That is probably no surprise as the film is pitch black in its humour featuring a stunning performance from Charlize Theron as an unlikeable train wreck of a character.

     Theron plays Mavis Gary a 37-year-old former Prom Queen who left her miserable home town of Mercury, Minnesota to enjoy the fullness of life and success in the big city. Her aspirations have dwindled to almost nothing. She is a ghost writer on a series of young adult novels which though successful in their prime are at the end of their popularity. She is struggling to write the final novel in the series. She is divorced and lives in a tiny apartment with her fluffy dog.

     Scanning disinterestedly through her e-mails one day Mavis sees a photograph of a baby born to her old high school sweetheart. Seeing this as a sign that the two were meant to be together she packs her bags and returns to the hometown with a simple mission - breakup the marriage of Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) and his wife Beth (Twilight's Elisabeth Reaser).

     This turns out to be more difficult than she thought. By all independent observations Buddy and Beth are very happily married and ensconced in their small town lifestyle. The alcoholic Mavis enlists a strange ally in her quest. Matt (Patton Oswald from the Cody penned United States of Tara) was that dorky high school kid who Mavis the prom queen never noticed, notwithstanding that they had lockers next to each other. Matt is simmering in his own depression. At school he achieved national recognition when he was beaten with iron bars by a bunch of jocks. Crippled and with problems "down there" he was a minor celebrity for the viciousness of this "gay hate crime" until people worked out that he wasn't actually gay and it became just another beating.

     Mavis and Matt are kindred spirits. Both are steadfastly refusing to move on with their lives. Matt to his credit really only does damage to himself but Mavis is so caught up in her aim to reclaim Buddy that she can't or won't see the damage she has the potential to inflict. Theirs is a love affair of sorts of two people with something in common - they pretty much hate the same things. Misery loves company!

     There is no question that Charlize Theron is a brilliant actress. Her turn in Monster as the female serial killer, in unrecognisable make up, earned her an Oscar. Since she first came to attention in The Cider House Rules Theron has performed in a variety of roles from big budget action flicks to more independent fare. Recently she gave a wonderful performance in the underrated The Burning Plain playing a damaged character not to dissimilar to Mavis. However, Young Adult allows Theron to show off her considerable comedic skills. Mavis is a character who is scary and funny at the same time and Theron plays her to perfection.

     The climax of the film is reminiscent of the Parisienne themed hen's party meltdown from Bridesmaids as Theron physically and metaphorically destroys all semblance of social propriety. There is another great scene where Beth, who works with special needs kids, shows Mavis a board featuring drawings of faces showing various emotions. Where's the one showing no feelings at all, Mavis asks? That's the emotion she feels the most.

     Young Adult draws strength from another witty but uncompromising script from Cody and alert direction from Reitman who knows just when to pull back from the abyss. Fans of black comedy will love this film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Young Adult was shot on the Alexa Digital Camera. It was projected at the cinema at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This DVD as had minor cropping to bring it to a 1.78:1 standard widescreen. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     In the commentary track the director and his cinematographer discuss the decision to use digital over film. They shot some scenes in both then decided to go with the latest in High Definition Video. It gave them a sharpness of image and at the same time a washed out look suggestive of the depressed state of Mavis and Mercury.

     In any event the image quality is good throughout. The print is clean and clear and the colours are stable without bleeding. The flesh tones are accurate.

     There are subtitles in English, English for the commentary track and Dutch.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Young Adult features a prime Dolby Digital 5.1 track running at 448 Kb/s.

     This track is adequate throughout, providing clear dialogue and a general surround ambience. The sub-woofer doesn't really do much but in this film it is not expected to.

     There is also a 2.0 descriptive audio track for the Hearing Impaired and an audio commentary track.

     The score is by Rolfe Kent who worked with Reitman on Thank You For Smoking and Up In The Air. He provides a perfect accompaniment to the film. A couple of songs also sneak their way in mostly in the background for scenes. On however, Teenage Fanclub's The Concept has a prominent role in the film.

     There are no technical problems with the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Deleted Scenes

     These three scenes Good Boy, I'm Blocked and Munchies clock in at just over two minutes. Apart from one funny line by Theron they were justly omitted.

The Awful Truth: Deconstructing A Scene

     This short feature sees Diablo Cody talking about her creations and focuses on the scene in the bar when Mavis and Matt are interrupted by "the happiest cripple". An interesting look at this scene.

Commentary Track

     The commentary track features director Reitman, First Assistant Director/co-producer Jason Blumenfeld and cinematographer Eric Steelberg. An interesting combination produces an enjoyable, free flowing commentary track. It can be a little difficult to tell them apart when there is crosstalk but the overall track is really informative. The team talk about the production process with, not surprisingly, the difficulties of lighting and shooting various scenes.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   Information about other Region DVD's is scarce. I note that the Blu-ray relase in Region A has some extra features but the DVD appears to have the same feature-set as our Region. Buy local!

Summary

     Young Adult is not for the generous of spirit - its black humour goes to the core. It is well written and brilliantly acted and diabolically funny.

    The extras include an interesting commentary and some lightweight other materials.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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