January 9, 2010

Youth in Revolt - 2010

Director: Miguel Arteta
Writer: Gustin Nash
Starring: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Steve Buscemi, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Long, Fred Willard, Ray Liotta

"In movies, the good guy gets the girl. In real life, it's usually the prick." The director of The Good Girl and the writer of Charlie Bartlett teamed up to present us with Youth in Revolt, the on-screen adaptation of C.D. Payne's 1993 novel of the same name. The eloquent Nick Twisp (Cera) lives in Oakland with his mother (Jean Smart) and her boyfriend Jerry (Galifianakis), struggling on a daily basis with that which plagues nearly every teenage male: virginity. When Jerry sells some sailors a defective car, he decides to take the family out to a trailer park for a few weeks to avoid their vengeance. At said trailer park, Nick meets Sheeni (Doubleday) and falls hopelessly in love with her. Among other things, however, he's not enough of a "bad boy" for her, so he creates the supplementary persona of Francois Dillinger (Cera and a wispy mustache) to start wreaking havoc.

Several things make this film stand out:
  • Big-name actors making small roles memorable
  • Three scenes of animation (clay, paper, and traditional) makes these silent and less interesting scenes nothing short of riveting
  • A rather faithful adaptation of the book (at least, of the first half that I've read)
  • Michael Cera playing something BESIDES his usual awkward teenage role
Maybe not Oscar-worthy, but possible Golden Globe contender in the Comedy/Musical category for next year. Don't miss this one.

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