DVD: Youth in Revolt (15)
Friday 02 July 2010
"I'm going to die a virgin," maintains Michael Cera's Nick Twisp in this patchy adaptation of C D Payne's novels.
Nick is a cerebral teen – he's fixated with Fellini films and existentialism – who is sickened by his mum's choice in men (Zach Galifianakis's slob, Ray Liotta's creepy cop) and is exasperated by his hometown, Oakland, where the women "have zero interest" in him. So when the dysfunctional family unit are forced to flee the attentions of some furious sailors, Nick reluctantly agrees to come – "Since I have no life I figure I have nothing to lose". They escape to a shabby trailer park, Restless Axles, but as luck would have it Nick encounters Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), a Gallophile and cinephile with a quick wit ("My parents are religious fanatics. They're exhausting"). Unfortunately, she's dating Trent, a blond hunk who writes "futurist percussive poetry". The relationship between Nick and Sheeni is quirky and sweet, but the film rather loses its way when she demands that Nick be bad. So he cooks up an alter ego, Francois Dillinger, a louche cad with a wispy moustache who "makes" Nick do bad things like set buildings alight, steal cars and sedate his girlfriend. The more this comedy focuses on Francois, the more it becomes a freewheeling mess. But Cera somehow holds it together. His expression – usually one of detachment – barely changes and he bears a passing resemblance to Kermit the Frog, yet Cera's thoroughly engaging. ben walsh
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