From the very first time I saw “Arrested Development,” on TV, I knew that Michael Cera (“Arrested Development,” stupid) was going to be consistently funny. His great timing and perfected awkward persona leant itself to consistent laughs throughout the series (which I still have to finish watching, but that’s neither here nor there), and translated well onto the big screen in “Juno,” and “Superbad,” not to mention the web-series “Clark and Michael” (which also features Clark Duke of the TV series “Greek,” and “Sex Drive,” fame…assuming anybody saw it). So when I saw the trailer for “Youth In Revolt,” I figured it would be worth a look.
In “Youth In Revolt,” Cera plays socially inept nerd (no real surprise there…but he does it so well!), Nick Twisp, a 16-year-old whose love of literature and Sinatra hasn’t really translated very well in his search for teenage romance. Nick’s life takes an unexpected sharp turn when he is forced to go on the lam with his mother (Jean Smart, of…uh…”Designing Women,”…and…other stuff), and her boyfriend Jerry (Zach Galifianakis, “The Hangover,” and just about anything funny on the internet). They end up in a trailer park where Nick quickly meets and falls in love with Sheeni, a comely young intellectual who is obsessed with French culture and creating uncomfortable moments. Naturally, the two must quickly part ways, Nick instantly becomes obsessed with devising a plan that will bring them back together. In order to do so, Nick creates a dual-identity for himself in the form of Francois Dillinger (complete with HORRIBLE moustache), an alter-ego that is able to get Nick to do all the things that he has not previously been able to do, and hilarity definitely ensues.
Witnessing the dichotomous nature of Cera’s character wins in every possible way. Cera is in his natural and standard element playing Nick, and is in his glory as the crass and confident Francois. Watching the meek and mild-mannered Nick try and present himself as Francois obscenely cajoles and prods him is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a long time. In fact, I enjoy the entire cast as a whole. It’s a great ensemble. Ray Liotta’s (“Observe and Report,” “Goodfellas“) turn as a cop proves he has carved himself a nice little niche as a comedic supporting/cameo actor. Justin Long (“Drag Me to Hell,” “Waiting”) gives another hilarious supporting effort as Sheeni’s brother. Fred Willard…well, he’s Fred Willard (everything, ever), and when has that ever not been a good thing? There are also other enjoyable performances and cameos along the way by Steve Buscemi (“Ghost World,“ “Reservoir Dogs”), M. Emmet Walsh, (“Blood Simple,“ “Raising Arizona”) and some new faces that I don’t recognize.
As brilliant as the cast is, the real star of this movie is the script. Since I haven’t read the novel the movie is based on, I can’t be sure as to how much of the dialogue was original to the movie, but either way it’s fantastic. It’s smart, funny, and quick. There’s a lot going on and as usual in movies like this, it gives me one of those moments when I’m the only person laughing in the theatre (this time concerning a quality Robert Frost joke), which I love.
The other aspects of “Youth In Revolt,” are also extremely pleasing. The soundtrack is quirky and odd, but not off-putting in anyway. The direction keeps up with the story and doesn’t try to overcompensate in any way. Director Miguel Arteta (“The Good Girl,” “Chuck and Buck”) is great at letting the story be told as it should, and only uses camera tricks and effects during appropriate times to accentuate emotion rather than try to elicit a response by dazzling the audience. There are also some extremely fun animated sequences that show up on occasion and pepper the movie with a different brand of amusement.
All-in-all, I don’t have anything but great things to say about this movie. If you like your comedies to be intelligent and accessible while being just ridiculous enough to not overshadow the dialogue and still let you enjoy what’s happening, then “Youth In Revolt,” is definitely for you. It’s like “Ghost World,” meets “Mr. Brooks,” except funny…and without Kevin Costner. Couldn’t we all do with a little less Kevin Costner?Related articles by Zemanta