Rated: R for language and some sexuality/nudity. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: May 4, 2018 Released by: Focus Features
Charlize Theron has a successful reunion with director Jason Reitman and Oscar-winning scribe Diablo Cody (Juno) after Young Adults in a predictable, though adept and dark comedy.
Tully might not have the sweet charm of Reitman's endearing tale of unplanned teenage pregnancy with cute touches like lots of orange tic-tac mints. But, it finds a certain grace out of bitterness in reaching out to parents of young children while theatrical returns will probably be diminished relative to ancillary, say, on-demand, formats.
At the outset, Marlo (Theron, once a South African supermodel and eating a lot of macaroni and cheese to prepare for the role) is finishing the term of her pregnancy and husband Drew (Ron Wilkinson) isn't pulling his weight at home because of a video game obsession. One of their other kids, Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica) would appear to have a complex form of Asperger's Syndrome and is ousted from an elite private institution because he's "quirky."
She's resistant to financial aid from her well-heeled brother (Mark Duplass) for a night nanny who could help out with the new bundle of joy, Mia, and afford the opportunity to return to a more normal schedule of rest because she's told it's pretty common these days.
Seeing how Mia's early life is progressing, however, changes her mind in the sorrow over an accumulating trashy situation. So, the story hinges on the entrance of the eponymous 26-year-old uninhibited, uncommitted and capricious New-Ager with a bare midriff endowed with alluring assurance by Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049 and AMC's Halt and Catch Fire).
Maybe the dialogue doesn't have that acerbic snap that was prevalent after Tully has that 'Mary Poppins' effect — allowing Mia and Marlo to get some well-needed shut-eye. Yet, the interaction between Marlo and Tully funnels more into the psychological from postpartum depression than child-rearing reality. It's a decent contrast for the versatile Theron after the aforementioned Young Adults, now sculpting a transformative flustered housewife. Though not without a quintessential attractiveness even if Tully personifies what disappeared from Marlo's life.
The latest Reitman/Cody collaboration digs into forbearance through exasperation and concession and the assets key to making a household develop well. Tully is a truthful, witty examination, not just by its plausible look into the collective, like Duplass as the brother and Elaine Tan as the sister-in-law that may be a bit fitful in dramatic execution. Yet, perhaps this is the nature of the beast a long way away from unwed pregnancy.