Screenwriter Diablo Cody reunited with Juno director Jason Reitman for this dark dramedy (emphasis on drama, depsite how the ad campaign advertised it) about a down and out ghostwriter for a series of young adult novels named Mavis Gary who returns to her hometown for a homecoming event where she tries to relive her past glory days of high school. Back then, she was the uber popular prom queen who had a strong relationship with her high school sweetie Buddy Slade. Nowadays, Buddy is happily married, and father to a newborn. Mavis, on the otherhand, is a burnt out depressed alcoholic who tries her damndest to win buddy back.
While she's back in town Mavis ends up forming a relationship with a former classmate named Matt who she ignored completely through high school, despite have a locker right next to his. It is through her time with Matt however, that Mavis finally starts to grow up and learn how to act like an adult.
As I mentioned, this movie was falsely advertised as seeming like a fun, witty comedy. There's some wit, and some humor, but overall, this is quite a dark little film filled with a number of really painful and awkward scenes that are pretty difficult to sit through at times. It's not always pretty, but it's quite compelling, and I love that the filmmakers had the balls to make the protagonist the least likeable character on screen. You feel bad for Mavis, but sympathizing her doesn't come easy or often.
The film is a great character study though, and definitely got me thinking about my own real life classmates who were a lot like Mavis, and might still be trying to relive the past, even though it's a waste of time. Matt is definitely the best character, and Patton Oswalt's portrayal of him is quite excellent, making him defintely a real talent deserving of far more credit than he's gotten previously. Charlize Theron shines as Mavis, and it's great seeing her play a scuzzy misfit that's not quite as extreme as her take on Aileen Wournos.
All in all, this is an underrated gem that deserves more attention. It sucks that it was mismarketed, and that most people weren't cool with this being as dark, ugly, and uncomfortable as it is, but I found a lot to like, and hope that Reitman and Cody make even more films like this one.