Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Youthful Revolutions Are Bad For Love

Youth in Revolt

Having sat through Superbad, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, and Extreme Movie I was convinced that there were no more ways for Michael Cera to tell the tale of a horny teenager hoping to find love. Clearly I was wrong as Cera once again displays his well worn virgin crown in Miguel Arteta’s coming-of-age comedy, Youth in Revolt.

While on vacation with his mother (Jean Smart), and her latest deadbeat boyfriend (Zach Galifianakis), cynical teenager Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) meets the girl of his dreams in Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday). Unfortunately for Nick, the distance between where he and Sheeni live is a huge road block in their budding relationship. The only remedy is for Nick to get kicked out of his mother’s house so that he can go and live with his father (Steve Buscemi). In order for this plan to work, an upstanding individual like Nick will be required to do some truly bad deeds. Luckily Nick’s suave alter ego, Francois Dillinger (Michael Cera), is an expert at creating havoc. As Francois sets plans into motion, Nick is forced to deal with the unexpected consequences.

First off, yes, as Nick, Cera is doing still doing the same deadpan teenager role we are all familiar with. Yet the role of Francois Dillinger allows Cera to finally breakout and show a bit of range. The majority of memorable moments in the film come courtesy of Francois. He is the one of the main reasons that Youth in Revolt is able to find common ground between humour and typical teen angst.

Personally I found Youth in Revolt to be a far more entertaining teen comedy than Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. While the two films touch on similar themes, Youth in Revolt does falter a bit in regards to the female lead. Despite her cool demeanor, Sheeni is just not as well rounded a female character as Kat Denning’s Nora was. Regardless, Youth in Revolt makes up for this flaw through its greatest asset, the wonderful supporting cast (e.g. Smart, Galifianakis, Buscemi, Fred Willard, Adhir Kalvan, Justin Long, Ray Liotta, etc.). Besides providing several great laugh out loud moments, the supporting cast also help to keep the overall pace moving briskly. The supporting players also make it much easier for the audience to handle the moments were Cera is going through his usual awkward teen routine as Nick.

Another thing that works in this films favour is the script. There is some great banter in the film that is witty without being pretentious. The breezy script also provides Miguel Arteta a chance to incorporate a few stylistic touches, such as animation, into the film. Arteta wisely does not overwhelm the film with it, but it never feels out of place when it is included. While Youth in Revolt may not bring anything new to the coming-of-age genre, it does have enough comedic moments to satisfy for a few hours.

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