January 9, 2010
Review - " Youth in Revolt " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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hyper-articulate teen with a deep-seated sense of lust and a lovable way of stammering his way through human interactions.
In Twisp's world, everyone seems to be having sex but him. The unfortunately named teen shares a house with his equally
one-track-minded mother (Jean Smart) and her latest live-in boyfriend (Zach Galifianakis), while Twisp's divorced dad (Steve
Buscemi) dates women closer to his son's age than his own (his latest tart, Lacey, is played by "Nick and Norah's Infinite
Playlist" scene stealer Ari Graynor). But on a family trip to a trailer park in Ukiah, Calif., Nick meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia
Doubleday), an aloof non-virgin who would appear to be far out of his league.
Turns out, though, they're a perfect match, nerds of a feather. She shares his hipster tastes and condescending
attitude toward adults.
"She isn't just a girl. She's a comely angel, sent to teach me all that is good in the world, " Nick breathlessly
As the quintessential girl of everyone's dreams, up-and-comer Portia Doubleday does a good job with Sheeni - exuding just
the right amount of cute, quirky sophistication needed to successfully bring the character to life.
If only they didn't live in different towns. If only Sheeni's parents weren't religious fanatics bent on keeping them apart. And if
only Nick - with his ironically meek sense of confidence - wasn't bursting with sexual urges.
When Twisp and Sheeni are separated, he devises
an elaborate regimen of rebellion, thinking he can
manipulate his mother into banishing him to Ukiah.
Twisp's partner in crime is Francois Dillinger, the
cigarette-smoking, manifestation of his id (also played
by Cera, with the fetching additions of a pencil
moustache, skin-tight pants, and a spine), whose
suggestions lead him on a path of grand theft auto,
arson, drug use and cross-dressing - to do all those
things he dares not do - in his quest to reunite with
Sheeni. Not only does Francois give audiences a chance
to see what Cera looks like with a shadow of facial hair,
but it gives the one-trick Cera a rare opportunity to
stretch his wings and play a bad boy - even if it is just for
("Thanks for breakfast" - it doesn't sound funny when you read it, but it sure is funny when Francois says it.)
"Youth is Revolt" boasts an impressive supporting cast that includes Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, Zach Galifianakis, Jean
Smart, Justin Long, Fred Willard and Emmet Walsh. what I thought would be scene-stealing roles for Buscemi, Long and
Galifianakis turned out a tad muted and more watered-down and a complete waste of such comic genius.
Director Miguel Arteta is smart to play up Twisp's outsider status (does any teen actually think he fits in?) before his actions
spiral out of control. Through it all, Twisp remains eminently relatable, even admirably proactive in his pursuit of Sheeni, and
despite having popped his cherry in at least three previous films, Cera still comes across as asexual enough to excuse the
character's carnally motivated misdeeds.
Seducing Sheeni may be his aim, but there's something chivalrous about the lengths to which the lad will go to earn that
right, backed by Twisp's quaint determination to marry the poor girl. Obstacles abound, of course. In this condensed form,
the plot feels episodic, but not in a bad way, with Arteta squeezing an impressive number of set pieces into 90 minutes.
Youth in Revolt
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Starring: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Zach
Galifianakis, Fred Willard, Justin Long.
For the record, actor Michael Cera is 21 years, 7 months old. It's worth
pointing out, because Cera - ever the boyish one - once again plays a
teenager in his latest film, the sexually frustrated, coming-of-age satire
"Youth in Revolt". So how is it that a guy who is plenty old enough to
buy his own darn Boone's Farm continues to make his living by playing
a charmingly awkward Everyteen?
Simple: because he does it as well as anybody - and better than most.
One of these days that act probably will start to wear thin, but that day
The star and the heart of the hip "Youth in Revolt, " a farcical tale of
nerd love, Cera exudes a geeky charm and tender vulnerability that's
hard to resist - probably because he's far easier to relate to for most
of us than we'd like to admit. Working from an irreverent and
frequently laugh-out-loud script based on the first in C.D. Payne's
"Nick Twisp" book series, Cera is entirely in his element.
Youth is a coming-of-age comedy about an awkward 16-year-old boy
who taps into his inner outlaw to win the heart of a beautiful girl.
Michael Cera is all charm in the lead role, which benefits from a funny
and insightful script. He ought to be. He's had years to perfect the
character, who isn't a whole lot different from those he played in the
late TV series "Arrested Development" or 2008's "Superbad." A
Well-placed animated sequences - a mix of stop-motion
and CGI - keep things moving along at a perky clip.
The character is less naive than we're meant to
believe; Nick Twisp just wants to belong, and his
alter-ego Francois enables Nick to do that... it's like
they've embarked on that wild ride that we all wish we
There are some good performances from young actors
and clever dialog in "Youth in Revolt" and it deserves a
viewing. What makes the film special is that beneath all
the gags is a touching (although twisted) love story.
The movie touches on the usual pangs of teenage
angst, but with a fresh and modern perspective, kind of
likeFerris Bueller meets American Pie. The result is a
wonderfully entertaining story that really keeps you and
your brain engaged.