How much Young Adult reminds me of Jonathan Tropper’s Bush Falls (side question: what’s the difference with The Book of Joe?) somehow disturbs me: you have the narrator, now big time book author, that returns back to its small hometown, where he meets his first and only love, lost memories, along with a somehow gay and ill friendly character that, obviously, have a hard time finding its own right place there.
But Young Adult Mavis Gary is no Bush Falls Joe Goffman and she just seems overly self-absorbed. The childhood love she’s trying to revive is not even big enough for her to take a little interest in what has become the loved one. Dialogs are just a sad reflection of her moral emptiness and complete lack of empathy. She does not even deserve the harsh words Joe Goffman gets from his old friends and his past lover, she’s not that interesting at all. Unlike Joe Goffman, she’s not capable of thoughts like “To err, as they say, is human. To forgive is divine. To err by withholding your forgiveness until it’s too late is to become divinely fucked up. Only after burying my father do I realize that I always intented to forgive him. But somewhere I blinked, and seventeen years flew by, and now my forgiveness, ungiven, has become septic, an infection festering inside me.” As result, this Mavis just seem in the end shallow as ever, I can’t focus, I just don’t care about her, her sadness and all the nasties attempts to break into the happy life of her childhood sweetheart.
I’m not sure my judgment is fair to Young Adult. I just cannot avoid the comparison with Bush Falls, that I thought of during the whole movie. And I must say I would have expected way better from the author Thank You For Smoking and Up In The Air, both movies with main characters hard to bear with but nonetheless lovable. Yeah, it was the only way it could be?