Mavis Gary (Theron) is a semi-alcoholic fiction writer of a “popular” book series for young adults. She lives with the most adorable puppy, in a high-rise apartment in Minneapolis. Mavis is beautiful, and she seems to be perfectly content with living on her own—that is, until she hears about her, now married, ex-lover from high school recently became a father.
At that moment, Mavis seemed to realize that drunken one night stands were not enough for her anymore, and that she needed something more in her life, and also to find the missing piece that would make it complete. After crawling out from underneath the arm of her latest drunken misadventure, she silently packed her bags, her dog, and an old cassette from Buddy Slade (Wilson)–the new father, and her ex-lover—and drove to her rural hometown.
You get a sense that deep down inside, she knows that the relationship between her and Buddy is no longer there, yet the desire to return to him—where she was happiest—remained. When she finally arrives to the town under the false premise that she’s there to complete a real estate transaction, her first order of business is to go to a bar for a few drinks. She runs into Matt (Oswalt) who shared the locker next to hers in high school, and although she couldn’t remember who he was, she still shared a few drinks with him.
As the night progresses, she reveals to him her true intentions for coming into town—to win back her high school sweetheart. Despite Matt’s insistence in leaving a happily married man and a new father as he is, she remains intent on ruining his life—saving it, in her mind.
You can’t say she didn’t try. Mavis did everything she could to win him back, and the things she does aren’t exactly admirable in character. Her visit to the town was unwelcoming—even her parents weren’t too excited to see her back home—as everyone remembered how much they hated her in high school. Her problem was that she could never quite grow up. She still wanted to get drunk, wear Hello Kitty shirts, sweatpants, and her ex-boyfriend’s old team jacket.
The ending of the film itself threw me off a bit. After the embarrassing scene at the baby naming ceremony, I believed that Mavis learned her lesson. Instead, she went on to “enjoy” a night of heavy drinking, ‘sleeping’ over at Matt’s house. Evidently, she learned nothing from the whole “Buddy rejection” experience. The film seemed as if it did not come to a complete end. It left the impression that she returned to her tried and true routine of immaturity, self-indulgence, and inevitable one night stands.
THREE POINT FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS ****