Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Young Adult


I’ve seen a lot of movies about toxic prom queens, but few as well-written (by Diablo Cody) and acted as this one. Charlize Theron left her crappy little home town after graduation and set up in the big city, ghost-writing a series of crappy novels for teenage girls. Now she’s 37. She still has her looks, but that won’t last much longer, and nothing else is really going right for her. She’s an alcoholic, and the young adult series is being cancelled. She gets a baby announcement from her old beau back home, and suddenly gets it in her head that she and he were destined to be together. So she goes home and sets about trying to break up his family. She doesn’t have a clue. At once point I really feared that she might kill the wife and baby, that’s how deranged she has become. She is such a narcissist that I really think she would be capable of it, especially with a few drinks in her … which is pretty much all day long. There is one man who sees all this, tries to befriend her, tries to stop her before she destroys either the family or herself. This part is superbly played by Patton Oswalt, someone I’d never heard of before. Apparently he’s a stand-up comic. He was the short, fat guy who had the locker next to Charlize in high school. Naturally he worshipped her; naturally she never noticed him. He is one of Diablo Cody’s best creations, a man who was savagely beaten and crippled by schoolmates because he was gay. Only he wasn’t gay, and as soon as that came out, why, it was no longer classified as a hate crime. (Which is one reason I am opposed to “hate crime” laws. Crime is crime, and fuck the motive.) The media furor went away and he was left to cope with a life on crutches, and dysfunctional genitalia. He was, as Charlize says, “the hate crime guy.” What awful irony. Charlize is wonderful in this role. It’s impossible to like this woman, but it is possible to feel sorry for her as she blunders through the small town. There are some scene that are hard to watch without cringing, but they are honest and all the more devastating. And with all that, you might be surprised to know that a lot of it is darkly, bitingly funny. I highly recommend this one.