I Watched: Youth In Revolt (Video)

Youth In Revolt (2009)- Dir. Miguel Arteta- 90 min- USA

My first ever video review for a movie. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And because I know folks can’t understand me sometimes…
My name is Lyle Prijoles and for this week’s Rotten Tomatoes show I am reviewing Youth in Revolt, based on C.D. Payne’s book of the same title. It stars Michael Cera as Nick Twisp, a witty, but awkward teenage boy looking to cross over into manhood by hooking up with a beautiful young girl named Sheeni, played by newcomer Portia Doubleday. I know, this character is kind of a stretch from pretty much every single role Cera has ever had in his life. There must be dozens of skinny, scruffy-haired young out-of-work actors because of Cera’s apparently monopoly over the role. But compared to Michael Cera’s other characters, Nick Twisp seems just a little bit more socially awkward and confused in the realm of girls and dating. In this film, Cera shows his acting chops by playing Twisp’s alter-ego, Francios. It’s so refreshing to watch Cera play someone that’s the anti-him, that by the end, I had wished for more scenes with Francios creating havoc and destruction, and talking back to Ray Liotta, who plays, you guessed it, a cop. Francios is also a reminder that underneath every nice, harmless teenager is rebellious, cigerette-smoking bad-ass fighting to come out. This alter-ego is created in order to better Cera’s chances at winning over Sheeni, who already has a mapped out idea of the boy she wants to end up with.

This film is a reminder on what it was like to be an impressionable, young teen, falling in love with the first girl who gave you boner. The lengths Nick goes in order to live happily ever after with Sheeni makes you cringe because you realize how weak their connect and bond is, but also you either thought about or you did the exact same thing when you were his age.

One of the biggest strengths of this movie in my opinion are the supporting actors. They keep you engaged in the film, even if you kinda don’t care anymore if Nick and Sheeni end up together. You just want to see what other drugs Justin Long is going to give to Fred Willard. Even Nick’s classmate, Vijay, makes you root for him while he scores with Sheeni’s promiscuous roommate.

There were a couple artsy scenes played out in claymation that didn’t seem to fit quite right for me. I didn’t see the point in them besides to change the pace of the film. Also, Nick and Sheeni’s dialogue sometimes seemed a bit over the top for my taste. I get it, you want to make these two seem more mature and connected by referencing French films and by using big words that only people who read tons of literature would use. I just don’t know a lot of teens who talk like that, even when the most-read ones.

Overall, I found this film to be very charming and funny. I can’t help but compare this to Year One, the last role I saw Cera in. It was relieving to not feel like I was being force-fed jokes and to actually laugh-out-loud at punchlines. Not Cera’s best role ever, but a refreshing reminder on what he’s built his career on, and that he does have the ability to branch out, hopefully sooner than later.


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