COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 34min
STARRING: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt
Home truths: Theron
Somewhere between small-potatoes Mercury, Minnesota, and big-smoke Minneapolis, high-school Best Hair winner and popular girl Mavis Gary (Theron) got lost. Now a 37-year-old going-nowhere writer of Young Adult fiction, Mavis nurses her alcoholism in a utilitarian high-rise. She’s selfish, snappy, contemptuous and fed up. And since she’s also the creation of writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman — the yay team behind 2007’s Juno — and brought to such irascible life by Theron, we can’t take our eyes off her.
Theron has no qualms about laying Mavis’s meanness on the line when she returns to Mercury to win back her now-married high-school boyfriend, Buddy Slade (a likeably rumpled Wilson). Her blatant tactics are perversely fascinating in the manner of a striking reptile, but in fact she and the guileless Buddy have nothing in common. Mavis’s real connection is with straight-shooting, disabled, overweight Matt Freehauf (Oswalt), who gets her from the word go and loves her regardless. It’s to Matt whom Mavis turns when her illusions crack open with the brittle force of breaking glass. But her future is hers alone.