Youth in Revolt
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- Director: Miguel Arteta
- Writers: Gustin Nash (screenplay) C.D. Payne (novel)
- Stars: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday and Ray Liotta
- Release Date: January 2010
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
- Run Time: 90 min
"Youth in Revolt" is original. Its not quite like any "teen movie" Ive ever seen. Just as its source material offered a fresh twist to the dork-meets-girl scenario in ink, the film offers the twist on screen.
"Youth in Revolt" centers on unconventional teenage rebels; these aren the hoodlums youd expect to see smoking pot on street corners. In fact, these characters are essentially adults trapped in awkward teenage frames. They have sophisticated tastes and profound desires, but they also carry themselves clumsily and desperately try to shed their virginity. This mature immaturity makes both Nick (Cera) and Sheeni (Doubleday), along with a number of minor characters they meet throughout the film, compelling and unique human beings.
As Nick Twisp, Michael Cera carries the film. His awkwardly clever narration provides for fairly consistent laughter, and his quest for Sheenis heart puts him through a dramatic ringer. As good as Cera is as lovable loser Nick, nothing can prepare the audience for his work as Twisps alter-ego: Francois Dillinger. Dillinger is the anti-Nick, which also makes him the anti-Michael Cera, but Cera pulls off his boldness and iron will hilariously. Ceras dual performance keeps the film fresh when it begins to get a little dull.
As Sheeni, the primary love interest, Portia Doubleday concocts an unconventional leading lady. She seems to embody every characteristic of the female teenager at the same time, and its not hard to see why Nick would idolize her.
The film focuses on Cera and Doubleday for the most part, and their relationship is strange, and therefore refreshing. Clichés are avoided, unexpected roadblocks pop up, and teenage love rears its ugly, fascinating face. The romance seems real, as well as funny.
When Youth in Revolt" turns its focus away from the youths, its hit-or-miss. Jean Smart is fine as Ceras aloof mother, but the character itself is one-dimensional and strangely conventional for such a nonconformist movie. Steve Buscemi is fine as the father, but hes not given much to do. The standouts among the supporting players include Fred Willard as an immigrant-phile, Justin Long as Sheenis stoner brother, Mary Kay Place as Sheenis Bible-wielding mother, and the two unknowns who portray Nicks friends, Lefty and BJ.
Aside from a couple of intentionally quirky animated sequences and one or two clichéd stock characters, "Youth in Revolt" plays by its own rules, and it wins marvelously.