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Posts Tagged ‘patton oswalt’

young-adult

Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a recently divorced, borderline alcoholic, ghostwriter of a series of young adult books. When she gets an email from an old flame, announcing the birth of his and his wife’s first baby, she gets it into her head that she and the old flame, Buddy (Patrick Wilson) are meant to be together, and goes back to the small town she left years ago in an attempt to win him back.

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Year of release: 2011

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Diablo Cody

Main cast: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Patton Oswalt, Elizabeth Reaser

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Genre: Drama

Highlights: Excellent acting all round from Theron, Wilson and Oswalt

Lowlights: None really (except this is usually marketed as a comedy, which I would not agree with)

Overall: I really enjoyed this, although it was certainly not the comedy I was expecting. Theron is wonderful as Mavis – an unlikeable, thoughtless and sometimes downright spiteful woman with nothing going for her except her good looks. She looks down on people in the small town she came from, failing to realise that they are actually more fulfilled and happy than she can dream of. Despite this, her attempts to seduce the unwitting Buddy do elicit some sympathy because they are so transparent and pathetic (I cringed!) Wilson is also great as Buddy – the character is understated and so is his performance. Massive kudos to Patton Oswalt as Matt, Mavis’s old classmate. She doesn’t remember him at first, because she always ran with the cool crowd, while he was bullied to such an extent that one beating left him permanently disabled – it is in fact this incident which prompts her to realise who he is when she sees his walking stick – “the hate crime guy” as she calls him, and recalls that he “got to have a lot of time off school” as a result. These two very different people somehow forge a genuine friendship which is the real heart of the film. Overall, I would recommend this movie.

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Sex and Death 101 stars a pre-The Mentalist (just – this came out the year before The Mentalist started) Simon Baker, as Roderick Blank, a man who is about to marry his girlfriend Fiona (Julie Bowen) and thinks that his life is just about perfect.  But then he receives a mysterious email, which lists all the women he’s slept with – with Fiona correctly occupying the number 29 slot – but then goes on to list lots more, totalling 101.  Not surprisingly he is somewhat shocked – who has sent the list?  How can he be going to have sex with more than 70 more women, when he is about to marry the woman he loves?!  Roderick’s obsession with the list starts to ruin his life, and pretty much all aspects of it.  Meanwhile, a woman (Winona Ryder) nicknamed Death Nell by the media, is going round murdering men who have treated women badly, and it looks as though Roderick and Nell’s paths are going to cross at some point.

I’m not entirely sure how to categorise this film.  It’s part sci-fi, part romantic comedy, part black comedy – there’s certainly a lot going on, and maybe a bit too much at times.  But….I actually really enjoyed it.  There were some VERY funny moments – and some very adult comedy –  as Roderick initially finds the list intriguing, but then finds that it’s taking over his life.  Simon Baker is wonderful at comedy, and keeps the audience on his side.  Roderick is sometimes lovely, and sometimes pretty damned obnoxious, but it’s difficult not to like him.  Winona Ryder gets surprisingly less screen time than you might expect, given that at the time, she was probably the most famous cast member.  She’s great in her role though – perfect for the part.  Robert Wisdom is great as the leader of a mysterious trio who are behind the list of names that was sent to Roderick, and Patton Oswalt gets a few funny line.  However, as far as the supporting cast goes, nobody betters Mindy Cohn as Roderick’s PA and friend Trixie.

The film got mainly negative reviews on release, and I can see why people might not like it – it sometimes seems as though it’s not quite sure what it’s trying to be, but I did really enjoy it.  A lot of this was because of the gorgeous Simon Baker; he’s a great lead, who for me, perfect for this kind of part, and as mentioned, the supporting cast were all great as well.

If you like quirky comedy, I’d recommend giving this a go.  It’s brash and colourful, and for my money, very entertaining.

Year of release: 2007

Director: Daniel Waters

Producers: Aaron Geller, Cary Brokaw, Elizabeth Zox Friendman, Jerry P. Jacobs, Greg Little

Writer: Daniel Waters

Main cast: Simon Baker, Winona Ryder, Robert Wisdom, Patton Oswalt, Mindy Cohn, Neil Flynn, Leslie Bibb

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