"Young Adult" is not women behaving badly, just real

Fri Dec 9, 2011 4:54pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Jordan Riefe

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nowhere is the old saying "beauty is only skin deep" less understood than in Hollywood where for years women have tried with sporadic success to overcome the notion that looks count for more than brains.

This past year two female-starring film comedies, "Bridesmaids" and "Bad Teacher," became smash hits based on the idea that women can behave badly and on Friday, a third, "Young Adult," hits theaters with a head-turning performance by Charlize Theron and written by Oscar winner Diablo Cody.

But Theron, Cody and director Jason Reitman are loathe to pigeonhole the film as just another funny story about a woman acting in impolite and socially incorrect ways. Instead, they see Theron's character, Mavis Gary, as a real-life person who is as flawed as anyone. And their take on Gary is winning praise from critics.

"I don't really see it as women behaving badly so much as multifaceted female characters," Theron said at a recent news conference. "You're actually seeing women in complicated, funny situations where you would normally see a man."

Theron sets out to prove that beauty may be skin deep, but ugly cuts to the bone in the role of hard-drinking Gary, a ghostwriter of young adult fiction who returns to her hometown to seduce her high school sweetheart -- never mind the fact that he is happily married and a new father.

The movie reunites Reitman and Cody who collaborated on the unlikely 2007 hit, "Juno," about an unconventional teenager who becomes pregnant and decides to keep the baby. She, of course, learns many life lessons during her nine-month pregnancy.


Cody said the screenplay for "Young Adult" was inspired by a newspaper story she read in her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where "Young Adult" is set. The story made her think about what might happen if an emotionally immature woman returns to the best time and place in her life -- high school.   Continued...