In theaters Dec. 9
Director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody, who made the huggable hit Juno, have reunited. Do not expect more of same: This is a far more daring and prickly affair. Its narcissistic anti-heroine, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), sets off on a desperate mission to her hick hometown to win back her now-married high-school sweetheart, Buddy (Patrick Wilson). The movie's darkly funny heart, however, resides in the unexpected bond she forms with the wry, damaged nerd she looked down on in high school (Patton Oswalt). Theron, performing with whiplash bravura, has never been better or, paradoxically, more likable. You may think Mavis is headed toward redemption. To their great credit, Reitman and Cody have more subversive things in mind.