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Youth in Revolt (2010)

Starring:

Adhir Kalyan

Erik Knudsen

Fred Willard

Jean Smart

Justin Long

Michael Cera

Portia Doubleday

Ray LiottaRay Liotta

Rooney Mara

Steve Buscemi

Zach Galifianakis

Directed by:

Miguel Arteta

Rating: 6/10

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

Country: United States

The unfortunately named Nick Twisp (Cera) loves Sinatra and speaks in big word smart-speak, but at the heart of it, he’s a teenage boy full of teenage boy insecurities, angst, and urges. When he’s forced to vacation at a trailer park with his loser mama (Jean Smart) and her loser beau (Zach Galifianakis), he meets the girl of his dreams (Portia Doubleday)—problem is, to be with her, he has to let his inner bad boy shine through and rebel against his previously mild-mannered self.

Michael Cera has perfected his unique film persona to such a degree that his detractors often dismiss him as one of those actors who only plays barely hidden versions of himself. That’s why Youth in Revolt is probably an intelligent career choice—it allows him the opportunity to be both the sensitive and quirky Cera and a whole new dirty-mouthed, cigarette smoking Cera-hole. Not that this alone should serve as an endorsement of the film; all that pretentious vocab and pseudo-eloquence gets boring to me, and I’m not a big fan of pretention in my teenage sex comedy. There are moments that shine, though, and again, for the Cera fans, this will rank above previous cinematic excursions like Year One.

Like Juno, teenagers in Youth in Revolt all tend to speak in some smarty-pants verbiage that can either be annoying or funny, depending on who you are. For me, it starts off funny, but deteriorates into annoying when everyone does it, making all the teens sound like the same well read, well listened intellectuals, while their parents all sound like one form of slack-jawed yokel or another. Not that I’m going all, “Back in my day …” or anything, but with the exception of Nick, none of the characters are worth any sort of emotional investment, and even Nick’s alter jerk ego Francois is more likeable than almost everybody else. Not exactly your typical coming-of-age, gotta-get-laid teen comedy, Youth in Revolt falls short not because of its star, but because it feels as if it had potential but was forced to suck the life from its supporting cast, rendering them ineffectual. Also, the end? Kinda sappy considering the rest of the movie.

Like (500) Days of Summer and, even, Juno, there are some original ideas floating around in Youth in Revolt, but in a misguided attempt at quirky, they fall short 65 percent of the time. And really—with a cast that, along with everyone already mentioned, has supporting folk like Justin Long and Fred Willard, there’s a disappointing lack of actually funny humor.

It's Got: Fun change-up role for Cera, Weird and unnecessary animation sequences, A stellar cast on paper

It Needs: Better use of supporting cast, Funnier humor, A more appealing leading lady

DVD Extras Audio Commentary (Cera and director Miguel Arteta); Deleted and Extended Scenes; audition tapes, featuring Doubleday and Erik Knudson reading with Cera, Galifianakis in a trailer park scene, Jonathan B. Wright (Trent, in a deleted scene), and Adhir Kalyan (Nick’s friend Vijay); trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

(500) Days of Summer, Juno, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist

Summary

Probably better now as a rental than if you had paid to see it in a theater, Michael Cera fans will love it, while fans of anyone else in the film will feel a little cheated.

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One Comment

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