Director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, who scored together with Juno (2007), reunite for this unfocused comedy about a dissolute writer in her late 30s (Charlize Theron) returning to her Minnesota hometown in hope of winning back her former high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), now a happy husband and father. The hard-drinking heroine has established herself in Minneapolis as a ghost writer of young-adult novels, and for some reason the podunk townspeople, rendered with a fair amount of contempt, are mightily impressed by this. Whether the character is supposed to be a stand-in for Cody, who grew up in the western ‘burbs of Chicago and has since won an Oscar, is more than I can say, but the movie suffers from the sort of self-pitying fog that can envelop a writer when he dives into his own malaise. With Patton Oswalt.
R • 1 hour 34 min • 2011