In the recent hit comedy “Young Adult“, the highly talented, Oscar-winning Charlize Theron plays a contemporary single woman who, after some fleeting success as a ghost-writer, decides to leave the big city and go back to her small, sleepy hometown, in order to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend. The problem is, he is now happily married and just had a baby. Yet these facts, already well known to her, doesn’t bother her in the least bit. She seems to be aware of some of her problems like her alcoholism but is totally oblivious to her stalker-like psychopathic behavior as she relentlessly pursues this happily-married “average Joe”.
Ms.Theron does a superb job acting this potentially interesting character, in a comedic context, yet is unfortunately wrongly cast for the part: she is simply too gorgeous to be believable as this delusional, psychopathic character she’s trying to portray. Not that traffic-stopping-gorgeous people in real life can not be delusional and/or exhibit psychopathic behavior, but without an honest attempt to explore and explain why this is happening to Ms.Theron’s character, the movie becomes too implausible to work.
In summary, a potentially interesting story, clever and humorous dialogue, great acting and exceptionally good looks on the lead-actor’s part unfortunately all end up in a rather shallow and disappointing movie.
Many factors influence the casting decisions in a movie, and a perfect fit between the character and the looks of the actor who’s cast to portray that character can take a back seat, as I think it did here. So, “Who would have been a better fit?” I asked myself. Among many other possibilities that came to my mind, Kristen Wiig stood out, the co-writer and lead-actor of “Bridesmaids“, another hit comedy from earlier this year. Her comedic acting-skills are excellent (she has also been consistently hilarious in her SNL skids, for years), although they’re no match for Charlize Theron’s, across genres (very few actors’ acting-skills are). Yet, in the eyes of this beholder, Ms.Wiig’s looks are just about right (good but not traffic-stopping-gorgeous) that would have made her quite believable in this particular role, and therefore might have allowed the whole movie to work too. Well, may be they’ll cast her in the sequel…
Now, if you want to see another superb performance in a recent movie, but this time with a perfect fit between the character and the actor’s looks, please try “My Week with Marilyn“. The Golden Globe winner Michelle Williams makes us completely believe that we are watching Marilyn Monroe on the screen, with all her legendary beauty and vulnerability, and then some. A delightful performance by Kenneth Branagh (in a supporting-role as Laurence Olivier) doesn’t hurt this simple but well-made movie either. I suspect there’ll be no sequel to this one.