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YOUTH IN REVOLT proves that minors can get away with anything


Nick Twisp will do anything for love and, unlike Meatloaf, he will do that. Want him to blow up a car. Sure. Flee from the law? Gladly. If you're a girl and show an interest in relieving Twisp (Michael Cera) from the ignorance of virginity, he'll do just about anything for you. This is both the funniest and most frustrating aspect of Youth in Revolt

Nick is classic Michael Cera. He's a quiet kid with a large vocabulary who wants to to win the heart of Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) and hopefully sleep with her. They meet when Nick's mother (Jean Smart) and her boyfriend Jerry (Zach Galifianakis) take him on a somewhat rushed vacation to a trailer park. 

Sheeni lives down the street and shares Nick's eclectic taste in music and literature, rousing him to fall in love with her almost instantly. The two spend a lot of time together talking monotonically using words far beyond their age on the beach and in the forest. When he eventually has to leave, she tells him that they're over and a long distance relationship is out of the question. You see, Sheeni is waiting for her Francois, a man who will come sweep her up and take her on grand adventures far from her small town life.

Nick, never having been this close to a female before, creates a secondary personality named Francois Dillinger to try and get her back. Dillinger smokes, wears aviator sunglasses, has a mustache, and is "contemptuous of authority." He's everything a girl like Sheeni wants. 

Cera is great as Nick and funnier still as Francois Dillinger. My problem is with Sheeni. Why her? Little about her seems sincere or appealing. She is consistently rude to Nick, reads his journal without asking, and never shows much interest in him unless he's doing something reckless and dangerous to get her back. This extends to almost all women in the story. For a young movie, Youth in Revolt has some old ideas about gender roles. Women like Sheeni are seductive damsels and men like Nick must go to treacherous extremes to win their affection. Nick even drugs Sheeni to get her to return to him. Her reaction to the drugs: she loves him more. When it's all done, Nick has wrecked multiple vehicles and caused millions in property damage, all for Sheeni. 

Still, though I don't get what he sees in Sheeni, it's not me who has to date her, and his efforts to win her heart range from amusing to hysterical. A great supporting cast with Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Justin Long, Ray Liotta, Zach Galifianakis, and Adhir Kalyan keep the laughs going when Nick gets serious. (Warning: there are a couple of odd animated scenes, common in 'indie' movies these days, but they're short and sparse.)

Youth in Revolt is a good push forward for Michael Cera and I enjoyed it. I even laughed out loud more than once, which is something I rarely do. Perhaps I was feeling rebellious. I've always been content being Jeffrey, but if this revolting thing really works, I may have to create a Francois Dillinger of my own. 

Trailer & Poster

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