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Youth in Revolt

Once upon a cinematic time, there was this phase I'd like to refer as "The Michael Cera Era". It's the time when he became the poster boys for geeks and geeks alike. His presence was so strong in the movie world that I didn't have a conversation about movies that didn't involve their like for his character and how he was bearing the path for an emergence of a new kind of a leading man. While I've never understood his fad, I did see some of his movies but never saw his appeal. I found the character he was playing to be stereotypical and tiresome. Watch one movie of his and you've watched it all. I saw a couple of his movies at later years (when the phase has died down) and it was only then I realized that the man does have talent and charm.

Nick Twisp can be classified as unlucky in love. His mother has an endless pool of men to date, while his father was shacking up with a much younger woman. Really, all he cared about was losing his virginity. At an impromptu vacation at a trailer park, he meets Sheeni Saunders, the girl who could solve all his romantic woes. The problem is, he was only there for a week, hence the two have hatched a plan in order for him to stay with her forever. Enter his alter ego Francois, the persona Nick deemed to be the man of Sheeni's dreams - the French troublemaker.

Youth in Revolt plays on a silly pretense, yet the actions of Nick Twisp is enough to push the movie forward. He gets into all sorts of trouble just for this woman who was holding out on him. He sets a car and trailer on fire. He gets in trouble at her boarding school. He even tried to fake his own death, and dresses like a woman just to talk to her. Every scene was unbelievable as the next, and yet Cera's charm and determination wills the audience to buy into his audacity. 

The fact that he was only backed up with his alter ego as support gives Michael Cera the entire movie to carry. Everyone else around him seemed to be flat characters, wallflowers that don't exactly fuel the progression of the story. It makes the movie look two dimensional, with just one goal in focus. Even Sheeni, played by Portia Doubleday, doesn't exactly do anything to urge the progression. Her character is present to become the end of his means - if she doesn't keep on holding out for him and insisting that her relationship with her boyfriend is genuine, the movie would have ended a long time ago. 

Yet, despite all of that, this was an enjoyable movie. Sure, there were tons of superfluous characters, such as Justin Long, who played Sheeni's stoner brother, or the slew of names that co-starred in this production. However, without them…well, it would just be a one man show. Which, in technicality, it was, since they were neither productive nor helpful in his woes. 

If I were to describe a movie like a math problem, this would just be a line segment. There are two points, and there is nothing else in the plane that the line is sitting on. Youth in Revolt is exactly that. While it just has to reach the end point, the adventures he has to be with GIRL were sort of ludicrous (and he makes you think that he will be serving a long sentence) that it keeps you watching him. Michael Cera does play his stereotypical character here, but each movie is his own. It's different from his other works, but enjoyable just the same. It might not reach the heights of Superbad (although we have to admit Jonah Hill helmed that one) or Juno (ditto Ellen Page), but it doesn't merit to be looked past upon.

Final Word: The least known Michael Cera movie pre-transformation (This is the End, etc), but quite enjoyable. 

Cast: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Ray Liotta
Director: Miguel Arteta
Year: 2009


  1. You reviewed the movie without mentioning the novel it was based on. Much funnier than the movie.

    1. I didn't know it was based on a novel, but will check it out! :)


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