Youth in Revolt Reviews
We are welcomed into Nick Twisp's (a deliciously dry Michael Cera) world, composed of his "charming" mother (Jean Smart), her scoundrel boyfriend Jerry (Zach Galfianakis), his dad (the always amazing Steve Buscemi), his neighbour Mr. Ferguson (Fred Willard) and the rest of the ensemble, including the newer folk (Erik Knudsen as Lefty, Ari Graynor as Lacey, Justin Long as Paul) and a fantastic corrupt cop from Ray Liotta. Yeah that's right. However, the cast plays second fiddle, maybe even third or fourth, to Michael Cera. It's his movie and his alone and his fantastic performance makes the film. Being able to actually play two sides of a character is a plus, but he makes sure to add touches of the opposite in each one, adding a greater depth to both of his characters. The voiceover is as insightful as it should be, as well as often being utterly hilarious, though his quick wit is what brings most of the dark humour (watch out for the burn on Miss Congeniality 2). He brings his now trademarked awkward pause up to a whole new level and proves what all the fuss about him was created for in the first place. Portia Doubleday is fantastic as Sheeni Saunders also. Playing Cera's opposite in this movie means that the focus is often taken from her, but she portrays her character's odd demeanour and strange style with great restraint, someone to watch out for in the coming years.
The script is ridiculous. Constantly entertaining though often too smart for it's own good, it makes the connection between the two leads more believable while adding more than a good dash of dark humour. This doesn't mean that there's nearly as much swearing as Superbad but jokes meant for adult ears only abound and most of them hit their mark on the bullseye. The writing for Nick is incredible; whip-smart and rapid-fire, his mouth writes cheques his body can't even begin to pay for (Sheeni: You don't have any hiking equipment... Nick: Fine, I do all my hiking free form anyway. Like John Muir, I enter the wilderness with nothing more than my journal and a sense of childlike wonder. Speaking at least at the speed of light). However, in its gentler moments, it doesn't slow down as much as it should, doesn't restrain as much as it could, which makes it seem like the writers were trying to cram as much dialogue in as possible, taking away a little from the softness which could have been there.
The music is gorgeous. It goes to the next step of films like Nick and Norah or, to a lesser extent, Funny People, which abound in accoustic guitars and unique voice, brining in some fantastically sour tunes which resonate even more (see Nick's doomed walk to Thanksgiving lunch at Sheeni's. You can almost hear his brain ticking). The main theme is excellent, blending Nick's ridiculously narrow worldview with Sheeni's love of France, even the trailer park where they are. It really is perfect for the relationship the two have. However, some of the tunes are overly soppy, as tends to happen in teen flicks these days, but it balances out with the majority of choices being exquisite.
However, the main thing you'll walk away from this movie remembering, despite some fantastic set pieces and great cameos, is Michael Cera. This is his best work yet and is an indicator of the incredible work that is yet to come from him.
Francois and Nick let a caravan and a Lincoln loose in Berkely. The conflict between one half of a person and his counterpart is one of the best uses of multiple personalities since Fight Club. Or The United States of Tara.