Reviews & Previews - Youth in Revolt

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 06:00 PM

Youth in Revolt

By: S. Tran

Starring: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rated: R

Tries Hard

Based on a novel by C.D Payne, Youth In Revolt tries hard to be quirky, but ends up being a fairly tame teen comedy. The characters are not nearly interesting enough and the predicaments they get into are not nearly weird enough. There are laughs to be had but there is too much down time for you to spend looking at your watch.

Michael Cera is back as Nick Twisp, who, unsurprisingl,y is identical to every character Cera has ever played in every movie he has ever been in. His act is getting tired and he'll find himself out of work soon once he gets past puberty and stops looking like a 14 year old. Nick is a frustrated virgin living with his divorced mom and her string of loser boyfriends. As with all these stories Nick is a sensitive boy who enjoys Frank Sinatra records and then mopes around trying to figure out why girls aren't attracted to him. This is such a tired trope that I think it would be infinitely more interesting if Nick was a totally normal kid trying to figure out while girls don't like him.

Eventually Nick and his half whispering, head lowered, eyes to the ground self meet Sheeni (Doubleday). Sheeni is herself different from any other girl and also likes music that no one at that age listens to. Of course the two fall for each other and Nick has to find a way to live with his dad so he can be together with Sheeni. It's at this point that the movie goes into 'Fight Club' mode and Nick develops a persona named 'Pierre' who brings out Nick's wild side.

From the odd ball characters to the bizarre situations I got the sense that the movie was trying to channel films like "Napoleon Dynamite" or "Amelie". Unfortunately it misses the mark. It does not have the honesty and charm of "Amelie" or the weirdness of "Napoleon Dynamite". While the extreme measures Nick takes to stay with Sheeni are sometimes funny the comedy is uneven. Adding some claymation animation sequences also didn't make it edgy enough to make a difference.

Another problem is that the Cera and Doubleday are too laid back, to the point of not really registering on screen.The supporting cast is much better and provides more of the laughs in the movie. The movie reminded me of that shy kid at the school dance who really wants to ask the girl to dance but can't quite get up the nerve.

You might get a few laughs if this ever comes on TV, but its probably not worth searching out.


2.5 out of 5 stars.


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