Sometimes you have plans, but an opportunity comes up at a moment where you have to make a choice between two possibilities. You may think you have certain things figured out, but in one moment your perspective changes because of an unknown factor. Quickly, you must decide what path to take, which road to travel. All your hours of detailed thinking come to a few frantic moments of half-thoughts and desires where you decided what to do. These choices are hard. They define humans.
Such a choice has (mostly) nothing to do with Youth In Revolt. It is just the feelings I had upon finding that the theater where I was to purchase tickets also had a midnight screening of Leap Year. A person, conflicted!
The marketing campaign for Youth in Revolt implies that it is the story of Nick Twisp trying to win the affections of Miss Sheeni Saunders. There is a part of the film that deals with that, but the movie is more focused on the obstacles Sheeni and Nick face. I guess it is easier to get people to see a movie under the assumption it is a Michael Cera odyssey film rather than a film about two adorable people and their madcap, oddball, sort of reprehensible adventures.
Michael Cera and Portia Doubleday are good in their lead roles. Cera does his usual thing, and I have come to the point where I am ok with that. In the few missteps of the movie, Cera gets serious. While there is nothing inherently wrong with his acting during the scenes, they seem off with the rest of movie’s tone. However, when Cera does the Francois Dillinger persona, he shows new range. Dillinger stands straighter than Twisp and Cera exudes confidence.
This was the first time I’ve seen Doubleday. She plays Sheeni with bits of mystery and allure that never go over the top. Doubleday keeps the intrigue relative to the intrigue of a cute high school student . Good job Portia!
Lots of other people show up. Fred Willard is great as Nick’s neighbor. They should remake that adage. “The only three certain things in life are death, taxes, and the greatness of Fred Willard.” Zach Galifianakis shows up but not for as long as the trailers indicate. Justin Long does a good job as Sheeni’s brother (that also may be I have just developed an affinity for Justin Long since He’s Just Not That Into You has been on TV all the time and it just draws you in with its portrayal of modern dating since Drew Barrymore does believable things like have a Skype coffee date and dates Eric from Entourage [spoiler warning]).
The movie is fun. It’s a little too quirky to have mass appeal and a little too much polish to be a critical darling, but that’s fine! Not every movie has to do everything all the time. We can either yell about Michael Cera not being Daniel Day Lewis or we can watch him be tender and sincere and laugh at his alter ego talking about oral sex. Youth in Revolt has its cutesy moments too, but those depend on your feelings on cutesy things (personally, I am pro-cutesy).
Besides, this movie gave us this!