October 3, 2008
Comedy, Drama, Musical/Performing Arts, Romance, Adaptation and Teen
Michael Cera, Kat Dannings, Aaron Yoo, Ari Graynor, Alexis Dziena
Lorene Scafaria (screenplay) and Rachel Cohn (novel)
Sony Pictures Releasing
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Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
By Chris Carpenter
CBN.com Program Director
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is every suburban teenager’s dream -- staying out all night in New York City with good friends, listening to great music, having sex with complete strangers, and best of all not a parent in sight.
Sadly, the elements that are supposed to make this movie a winner is ultimately what ends up making it a losing effort.
Based on the bestselling young adult novel of the same name, Nick and Norah stars Michael Cera (Juno, Superbad) as Nick, a garage band musician who is nursing a broken heart after a tumultuous break up with the seemingly out of his league Tris (Alexis Dziena). The movie begins with him taking a ‘mental health’ day from school which finds him burning mix CDs in honor of his lost love.
Kat Dennings (The 40 Year Old Virgin) is Norah, the bright but unheralded daughter of a music industry legend who produced some the greatest bands in history. Despite her life of privilege, Nora is conflicted with her status in life. The world is at her feet but all she really wants is stability.
Nick and Norah meet at a night club where the pair is independently seeking the elusive, mysterious band Where’s Fluffy. Tension ensues when Norah asks Nick to pose as her boyfriend to make her ex-boyfriend (Jay Baruchel) jealous. A love triangle ensues as Norah just happens to be Tris’s good friend. Got all that?
A wild romp through the streets of New York ensues (filled with underage drinking and heavy gay overtones) as the ‘new’ couple and their friends try to find the club Where’s Fluffy is playing at. Somewhere along the way, Nick and Norah discover their mutual love for music and each other.
This movie features so much wasted potential. While the basic premise is good -- two teens with their own unique problems who find each other through a common interest (“You’re literally, like, my musical soul mate!”), I can’t help but asking myself a series of troubling questions. Where are the parents? Why is there no curfew for any of these teens? Why is there such an easy acceptance of underage drinking and promiscuity?
About the only thing realistic in Nick and Norah are the highly funny scenes involving Nick’s beat-up, unreliable Yugo, which serves as an undercurrent throughout the movie.
Cera, who is considered one of the better young actors in Hollywood today is perfect for the role of Nick but runs the risk of being typecast from this point forward. His low key performance really isn’t that much different than his earlier work in the aforementioned Juno and Superbad, as well as his character George-Michael Bluth on television’s Arrested Development.
At its best, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist plays like a poor man’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off without the charm. At its worst, it falls into the banal territory of the American Pie trilogy.
If you love great indie rock see this movie. However, I would recommend that you save yourself the time and just go to iTunes.
Overall rating: C
Check out Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
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