Monday, November 30, 2009

Youth in Revolt

I had the pleasure of working at the Virginia Film Festival this year in Charlottesville where I was able to see a few pretty decent films. One of which on the closing night was Michael Cera's Youth in Revolt. Youth in Revolt is based on the much beloved novel of same name. It follows the life and times of 14 year old Nick Twisp and his escape from his trailer trash household and his quest to find his dream girl, Sheeni Saunders, and lose his virginity. The film contains an all star cast of Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Fred Willard, Ray Liotta, Justin Long, and Steve Buscemi.

The film follows 14 year old Nick Twisp (although I think they changed his age to 16 for the film, a more believable age for Cera to play) through his adventures in leaving himself, essentially, and becoming more of a "bad boy" so he can get the guts to win over his dream girl Sheeni Saunders with who he had a minor fling with at her trailer park during a vacation he was on. The nervous fumbling mouthed Twisp soon develops the split personality of Francois, the foul mouthed, take no shit from nobody criminal, also played by Micheal Cera wearing a classy white suit and a sketchy looking mustache. I know at this day in age it isn't hard to do anymore, but I still think the filmmakers did a good job at showing two Michael Cera's playing both characters in the same scenes together.

I was a little disappointed by use of Zach Galifianakis' character Jerry, who plays Nicks mothers trashy boyfriend. I felt there simply just wasn't enough of him. His character had a few great lines in the film but that's about it, and with his recent success in The Hangover, I just wanted to see a bit more of the guy that's all. On the other hand Steve Buscemi who plays Nicks dad is great as the young hussy hounding sleaze who cares more about the well being of his car than his son. Fred Willard probably has the best scenes in the film as the crazy neighbor who's obsessed with illegal aliens and their well-being.

I must say though that this film has a strange kind of quiet feeling to it and moves along at a slow/medium pace. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it takes some getting used to. With that being said I also think that if it wasn't for the split personality change of Nick turning into Francois, this film would be lower than average. But because Cera offers some of his best work to date while portraying Nick and the entertaining Francois simultaneously, I'm recommending this film a little more. Youth in Revolt gets 3 outa 5.