Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 42
  2. Negative: 1 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 14, 2011
    It's the most unsettling nice surprise of 2011.
  2. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 8, 2011
    A dark comedy that confirms Diablo Cody as a screenwriter of importance, eliminates the last shred of doubt that Jason Reitman is a major director and gives Charlize Theron her best showcase since "Monster."
  3. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 7, 2011
    Young Adult bumps along with nasty swerves, middle finger proudly in the air, toward an ending blessedly free of anything warm, fuzzy, or optimistic. Now that's adult entertainment.
  4. Reviewed by: S.T. Vanairsdale
    Dec 12, 2011
    Young Adult is the first of Reitman's films from which I haven't felt him choking out a message; ironically, its rawness yields the humanity that he thought he was wringing from "Up in the Air."
  5. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 8, 2011
    When it's done right, as it is in Young Adult, there is something absolutely mesmerizing about watching a train wreck unfold on screen. When the wreck in question is a narcissistic beauty played to scheming, sour, downward-spiraling perfection by Charlize Theron, cringing is definitely called for, but so is laughter.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 8, 2011
    A cockeyed comic triumph that flashes between bright and dark like a strobe light of the spirit. And Ms. Theron, as Mavis Gary, a self-styled author rather than a mere writer, succeeds sensationally at something much harder than playing ravaged.
  7. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 8, 2011
    Shorter than a bad blind date and as sour as a vinegar Popsicle, Young Adult shrouds its brilliant, brave and breathtakingly cynical heart in the superficial blandness of commercial comedy.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Dec 4, 2011
    Reteaming pop-savvy scribe Diablo Cody with "Juno" director Jason Reitman, Young Adult revels in breaking the rules of safe Hollywood storytelling.
  9. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Dec 16, 2011
    Clear-eyed, fearless and ferociously funny, Young Adult is mature filmmaking.
  10. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 7, 2011
    Patton Oswalt is, in a way, the key to the film's success. Theron is flawless at playing a cringe-inducing monster and Wilson touching as a nice guy who hates to offend her, but the audience needs a point of entry, a character we can identify with, and Oswalt's Matt is human, realistic, sardonic and self-deprecating. He speaks truth to Mavis.
  11. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Dec 7, 2011
    Reitman lets the pop-culture references (oh hi, 4 Non Blondes' "What's Up") accessorize the story rather than guide it, and in its uncompromising treatment of a character who's troubled but also a stone-cold bitch, Young Adult offers compassion for rather than revenge on the "psycho prom queen" who has nothing left in life but a warped mix-tape from an ex who moved on long ago.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 154 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 60
  2. Negative: 13 out of 60
  1. Dec 10, 2011
    I probably watched about half of this film through my fingers on both hands - there are more than a few cringe-worthy moments - but in a good way. It taps into some truly genuine feelings we have about high school, whether or not you're part of one of those pre-defined groups (popular, nerdy, jocks, drama, etc.) It's not a perfect film, and it won't go down as one of the best in the genre, but it's absolutely worth seeing. Elizabeth Reaser is terrific in it in a smaller role. And Patton Oswalt is PERFECT casting here - the ideal person to serve as the truth-teller that Mavis (Theron) needs. It's not an unqualified recommendation, but if you went to high school in the late 80's / early 90's, it should ring true for you Full Review »
  2. Mar 2, 2012
    Young Adult touches so close to home for me, not being able to let go. One can't help but to ponder and contemplate the supposedly glorious days of the past and reflect on our past mistakes, on what could've been and what should've been. The opportunity that we're given now in the present is all that matters. The past is in the past, we just have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get ready for what lies ahead. Our best years are still ahead of us, it's time to look into the future, start a new chapter. Life, here I come. Full Review »
  3. Mar 9, 2012
    I was beginning to think that Jason Reitman could not get a foot wrong. But he did by reteaming with the one hit wonder writer Cody Diablo who although gave him the wonderful Juno, in her new script for Young Adult, she goes to the zone where it is neither funny, nor dramatic enough. And besides the exceptional performance of Charlize Theron and his apt directing, this falls quite short of the high standards he has set and achieved in the past. Full Review »