Reitman's return: 'Young Adult' showcases talent

They must have closed their eyes and crossed their fingers while they were making this film. It breaks with form, doesn't follow our expectations, and is about a heroine we like less at the end than at the beginning. There are countless movies about queen bitches in high school, but Young Adult has its revenge by showing how miserable they can be when they're pushing 40.

The movie stars Charlize Theron, one of the best actors now working, as Mavis, a character we thoroughly dislike. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, but we see how she makes herself look that way, and what happens when it comes undone. She plays the onetime high school beauty queen in Mercury, Minn., who moved to the big city (Minneapolis), got her own condo, and is sorta famous as the author of a series of a young adult novels about popular teens. Back home in Mercury they think of her as a glamorous success. Of course they haven't seen her in years.

They're about to. In real life, Mavis lives alone, her apartment is a pigpen, she chugs liters of Diet Coke and throws back shots of bourbon, and is likely to be single until the end of time. She receives an email from Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson), her high school boyfriend. Buddy and his wife, Beth (Elizabeth Reaser), have just had a baby, and here's a photo of the little darlin'. That does it. Full review.

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