Young Adult (Blu-ray)

February 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I’ve been a fan of Charlize Theron since one of her first movies 2 Days in the Valley that came out back in 1996. The movie itself wasn’t too great, more of a knock off of The Usual Suspects but it did put Theron on the map as a actress. She’d previously been a model, but the lifespan is somewhat short in that particular field. She went onto star in a few higher-profile movies like The Devil’s Advocate, Reindeer Games and The Astronaut’s Wife and these roles pit her with Hollywood’s A-List leading men like Johnny Depp, Ben Affleck and Keanu Reeves. The movie that really raised eyebrows was her Academy Award-winning turn as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003’s Monster. The role was not only the best of the year, but it’s been called one of the finest performances in film. Theron’s film career seems to keep its momentum and as long as she’s turning in great performances, then why shouldn’t it? With her latest role in Jason Reitman’s Young Adult we see another fine, yet somehow Oscar overlooked, performance.

Mavis (Charlize Theron) has some issues. She’s a semi-successful author of a series of young adult vampire books and while she’s no J.K. Rowling, her ego thinks differently. Upon hearing the news that her ex-High School sweetheart (Patrick Wilson) has been married and has welcomed a child, this prompts her to head out of the big city (Minneapolis in this case) and head back home. You see, Mavis has it in her mind that she’s going to reclaim Buddy (Wilson) and they’ll end up happily ever after. She’s of course, mistaken. While in town, she runs into Matt (Patton Oswalt), someone who was chastised and beaten in high school for being homosexual, even though he’s straight. As she tries to re-kindle whatever flame is left with Buddy, she comes to the realization that it might not happen. However her budding friendship with Matt is more of the focus as the movie enters its second act. Can Mavis, someone who chugs her Diet Coke with as much gusto as her scotch, end up with Buddy or is she destined for failure?

Young Adult was seriously overlooked at this year’s Academy Awards as it contains several brilliant performances. Charlize Theron could and should have been up for Best Actress and I’d have preferred to see Patton Oswalt in place of Jonah Hill for Moneyball. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Directed by Jason Reitman who’s also filmed such recent classics as Juno, Up in the Air and Thank You for Smoking (there’s a pseudo gold seal on the front of the Blu-ray to remind you in case you forgot), this is right up there with those in terms of film caliber. Written by Academy Award-winning Diablo Cody, who won for her work on Juno, the film does have the same sort of edge. There are some genuinely funny, happy, sad and downright uncomfortable moments in Young Adult but it’s well-written and acted and, of course, a must see.

Video: How does it look?

Young Adult comes to Blu-ray in a great-looking 1.78:1 AVC HD transfer. The movie was shot digitally and it shows. Detail looks spectacular and we can even see the slightest flaws in Theron’s otherwise porcelain complexion. The individual hairs in Patrick Wilson’s scruff are all visible and it’s even the little things, like being able to read text from far away. I’m constantly in awe of how good some of these new films can look. As the film takes place in Minnesota, there’s a bit of a washed out effect to the outdoor scenes with lends itself to a bit of de-saturation. The indoor and night scenes aren’t compromised in the least with both black levels and contrast being strong. There are a very few isolated spots that prevented this from getting a perfect score, but let it be said that you will not be let down by the way this looks.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio, while not quite as impressive as the video, does a good job. The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack has a few moments, but the movie is almost all dialogue-driven. Vocals sound strong and clear throughout, even in times when Theron’s character is slurring her words after a few drinks. Surrounds aren’t too pronounced, but do come into play a few times throughout. The LFE even get involved a couple of times. While this isn’t the strongest soundtrack out there, it’s more than acceptable for a comedy and again, viewers won’t be disappointed.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The disc comes loaded with just enough extras to whet the appetite. We start off with an audio commentary by director Jason Reitman, DP Eric Steelberg and Producer Jason Blumenfeld. Their track is both light-hearted and engaging. We learn some information about the shoot and the cast. While I’d have liked to have one or both of Theron or Diablo Cody in the mix, this is still a good listen. “Misery Loves Company: The Making of ‘Young Adult'” is a look at the movie from script to screen. Interviews with the cast and crew are shown as they discuss the finer points of the movie. “The Awful Truth: Deconstructing a Scene” is pretty interesting as it focuses on one scene, Mavis and Matt in a bar, as the dialogue is shown on the screen and the different takes the actors do. We then see the completed scene as it appears in the film. Next to the audio commentary, the most robust supplement is this 45 minute Q and A session with director Jason Reitman. Shot at the Jacob Burns Film Center, this is a very informative look at the film. Finally we round out the supplements with half a dozen deleted scenes. There’s also an UltraViolet copy of the movie for your streaming needs.

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