Charlize Theron has long proven that she can play determined, gritty characters: she won an Oscar for her heartbreaking portrayal of real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, and earned another nomination for playing a down-and-out miner in North Country. The new trailer for Young Adult shows that she can also pull off “determined” in a comedic mode. Directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody (the team that brought us Juno), the movie stars Theron as a divorced young adult lit. writer and former high school mean girl. She returns to her hometown to win back her teenage sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), doggedly undeterred by his wife and brand new baby.
Theron rattles off Cody’s lines with deadpan comedic timing, expertly straddling the line between catty and crazy. When her former flame deflects her come-ons by stating firmly that he’s a married man, she responds earnestly, “I know, we can beat this thing together!” Could Theron possibly get Academy kudos for this comedic role? Jason Reitman has directed four other actors—Ellen Page, George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick—in Oscar-nominated performances. If so, it would be the first nomination for which she didn’t have to gain thirty pounds or sport a mullet. -Allison Friedman
Young Adult comes out December 16.