REVIEW: Youth in Revolt (2009)

26 Jun

YOUTH IN REVOLT (2009): *** out of 4 stars
“Youth in Revolt” gives me hope for Michael Cera’s future. Cera plays the best awkward teenager, getting his start as the uncomfortably naive teen George Michael in “Arrested Development” and then stepping up the raunch in “Superbad”. The problem is that his ability to play a teenager will run out in the next 5 years as he gets older. I was beginning to worry whether he would ever play a role other than the wimpy teen. While he has a great sense of timing the untimely, that appeal can only go so far into adulthood. Playing the dual role of Nick Twisp and his alter ego Francois Dillinger in “Youth in Revolt” he proves he can play an older badass.

The film is about a quiet and hopeless teenager, Nick (Michael Cera), who lives with a deadbeat mom and her boyfriend and they move to a trailer park where he meets a deadpan and intriguing girl, Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), and he immediately falls in love. When his mom and her boyfriend move away from the trailer park he vows to get back to Sheeni. Since his mom gets child support from Nick’s birth father (Steve Buscemi) she doesn’t want to let go of him, so Sheeni convinces him he needs to become drastically bad so his mom will kick him out of the house. From this idea he forms an alter ego, Francois Dillinger (also Cera), who is dastardly and “irresistable to women” to help him become bad so he can run off with Sheeni.

What woman could resist that moustache?

Cera plays both parts with convincingly, with Francois stealing the show with his condescending one-liners and a cool cigarette always in hand. The dark comedy seen in Francois shows that if Cera wants to he could play some sort of mob boss or hitman in future films. While Cera will most likely stick to comedies for now, he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has the acting chops to play any type of role that he wants.

Nick and Francois are complemented by a very lively (and by lively I mean viciously dead pan cast). Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, and Zach Galifinakis do a great job providing peripheral comedy as potential and past beaus of Nick’s mom and Justin Long has a mildly humorous cameo as Sheeni’s shroom-munching brother.

The script is snappy, which offsets the slow-pace of the film. “Youth in Revolt” also avoids the pitfall of so many recent movies by keeping it short (89 minutes), so while the pace is slow, it wraps up quickly and neatly. I am not sure the animation shorts during the film were necessary, but besides that the film is very enjoyable and provided a nice reprieve from all of the in-your-face slapstick comedies that seem to come across the screen recently.

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One Response to “REVIEW: Youth in Revolt (2009)”

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  1. Movie Reviews by Author « Chris Petersen's Film Blog - November 10, 2010

    […] Youth in Revolt                      B                              N/A […]

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