"Youth in Revolt" Movie Review (2010)

1/10/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Youth in Revolt"

Directed by Miguel Arteta, Written by Gustin Nash, 90 Minutes, Rated R.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Until witnessing the subtle and darkly hysterical "Youth in Revolt," I was almost certain I was over Michael Cera and his nerdy, soft-spoken shtick. Thankfully, due to the refreshing and unique stylings of director Miguel Arteta and screenwriter Gustin Nash, Cera and his reserved demeanor have been given new life.

Cera portrays Nick Twisp, a teenager who prefers Fellini and Godard to Michael Bay and would rather sit around and read a book than chase skirt. He's still quite troubled by his virginal status, however, especially with everyone around him, even his divorced parents (Steve Buscemi, Jean Smart), getting so much action. That is until his stepdad (Zach Galifianakis, one of many inspired and hilarious casting choices) finds himself in a financial bind and Nick has to move with his family to a trailer park. There, he meets Sheeni Saunders (adorable and surprisingly talented newcomer Portia Doubleday). They start a relationship, and his whole world is turned upside-down in the process

The catalyst for all of the film's primary plot comes with Nick's realization that he may have to be a little more than Nick to get what he wants. He starts to rebel, and this rebellion takes form as Nick's sociopathic "supplementary personality" named Francois Dillinger (also played by Cera, of course).

This is what takes the film from just another Michael Cera comedy to pure comic brilliance.

Those who were certain Cera could do nothing but his ordinary one-note characters will be surprised to see him in a whole new light as he portrays Francois, a forceful, frank and occasionally frightening bringer of destruction. Cera is supplied with a mustache, contact lenses and an ever-present cigarette to play Francois, and his completely out-of-the-ordinary appearance alone is enough to bring out enormous laughs. In this two-man job, Cera gives his best performance yet, and it's sure to stifle any doubts people (me included) had about his career.

Cera aside, the film is chock-full of excellent performances from numerous character actors. Justin Long, Fred Willard, Steve Buscemi and Ray Liotta all make slight but extremely memorable appearances, proving their worth extends beyond the typical comedy schlock they ordinarily find themselves in (excepting Buscemi, of course). Doubleday is particularly outstanding as Sheeni.

The dialogue, which has a stylized way about it quite similar to that of Diablo Cody's ("Juno"), manages to be quirky without overwhelming the plot and characters like it occasionally did in "Juno." For example, the references to films or French actors seem believable, whereas in "Juno," the little quips about Morgan Freeman and Argento just pull you out of the film.

Probably the most refreshing thing about the film overall is its portrayal of the young romance between Cera and Doubleday. Despite all Nick Twisp does with his alternate persona, the entire relationship between the two characters comes down to a simple love for one another that transcends rebellion and desire.

As a whole, "Youth in Revolt" is simply an overwhelming success--as a comedy, a romance, and as a new career-high (and critical revival) for Michael Cera (and, to an almost greater degree, Miguel Arteta, who hasn't made a film since 2002). A dark, stylish, and incredibly funny triumph.

Grade: A

View the trailer for the movie "Youth in Revolt" below. What are you thoughts?

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