There is no denying that the fall festival circuit has been very good to director Jason Reitman. Both “Juno” and “Up In The Air” premiered at Telluride, wowed crowds at TIFF and built on that momentum to have very successful awards season runs. With this latest film now slated for December release, it seemed only logical for “Young Adult” to repeat the route taken by his previous efforts. But, both TIFF and Venice announced their first wave of titles this week and there was no mention of Reitman’s film at all and it looks like those hoping to get an early glance at the film will be out of luck.
Over at Deadline (via Hollywood Elsewhere) awards season writer Pete Hammond has confirmed that Reitman won’t be trotting out his film for a dog and pony show early. It’s certainly a bit of a surprising move considering how good those festivals have been to him in the past, but perhaps it’s not all that shocking either.
Unlike “Juno” and “Up In The Air,” both very light, easy to digest crowd pleasers, “Young Adult” is decidedly darker and much different than what we’ve seen from Reitman before. Once again reteaming with “Juno” writer Diablo Cody, the film stars Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt with J.K. Simmons narrating, and follows the story of a divorced 30-something young-adult fiction writer (Theron) who returns to her Minnesota home to chase after her now-married-with-kids ex-boyfriend (Wilson), with Oswalt playing a semi-crippled old high school acquaintance who befriends the narcissistic and misguided female. So yeah, it’s certainly less broadly appealing than Reitman’s past efforts and early buzz indicates that Theron in particular gives a very prickly performance. In fact, Reitman has already spoken about audiences feeling slightly jarred by the shift in tone from the filmmaker and we’d wager that’s why he wants to keep it off the festival run, preventing it from screening to crowds who may not know what they’re in for.
“It’s not in a charming ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ kind of way but in a ‘Greenberg’ or ‘Rachel Getting Married’ kind of way,” Reitman said earlier this year. “We had a screening of it recently and a girl in the focus group said, ‘I don’t know why Jason Reitman wants me to feel this way.’ So get ready for that fun! But don’t worry, ‘Juno’ is on DVD. You can always watch that afterward and feel good again.”
But don’t get it twisted, there is nothing here to suggest the film is troubled and indeed, all you have to do is look back to last year and you’ll see that David O. Russell‘s “The Fighter” did just fine by not running the festival the gamut. So it’s perhaps no surprise that Paramount has pegged “Young Adult” with almost the exact same, early December 9th release date, hoping they can repeat the build and success of Russell’s film.
If anything, this adds another layer of curiosity about the film, one we’re eager to see, but for now, we’ll have to remain patient.