As I said last week, this was one we were looking forward to this year, even though I had a sneaky feeling that it wouldn’t be great. It wasn’t great.
But it was good. And good + Michael Cera is good enough for me.
The movie is by Miguel Arteta, whose past work of The Good Girl and The Office “Diwali” episode, had me expecting more. (Though the success of the Diwali episode probably had more to do with the fact that it was written by Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor).)
Youth in Revolt about a teenager, unfortunately named Nick Twisp, who almost literally moves mountains to be with the girl he loves. He is a meek boy with esoteric interests, and so, obviously, he needs to invent a persona (named Francois) that is everything he is not. And everything that he believes the girl of his dreams desires.
There is a hint of Me, Myself and Irene in that plot, except that Francois is a conscious creation of Nick. The movie doesn’t as far as it promises to with comedy or anti-social behavior. The end is tame and although “just be yourself” is a great message, it doesn’t naturally lend itself to a dramatic climax. Especially when the “self” in being “yourself” is a tame and docile fellow.
In that respect, Nick Twisp is like Barry Egan in PTA’s awesome Punch-Drunk Love. Life happens to him, until he decides to take matters in to his own hands, spurred on by the love of his life. But where Egan succeeds because he turns in to the master of his own fortune, Nick actually fails. Nick, it turns out, is better off letting life happen to him.
Which makes for a tame climax.
But I like Michael Cera, and the movie is liberally garnished with laugh out loud funny moments– the touching and odd-ball kind you would expect to find in a small comedy released among Oscar leftovers in January.