Title: Youth In Revolt
Starring: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta
Director: Miguel Arteta
Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is 16 years old. His mother (Jean Smart) is a bit sex mad and basically hooks up with anyone. She is currently seeing Jerry (Zach Galifianakis) who is in trouble with a group of sailors over a car deal, gone bad. In order to stay under the radar of the sailors Jerry takes Nick and his mother to a cabin in a trailer park. It’s a terrible place to be staying but Nick gets lucky and meets the girl of his dreams, Sheeni (Portia Doubleday). Nick is a bit of a nerdy lonely virgin. Sheeni looks like a bit of a maneater who has a tall, sexy, French, poet boyfriend.
Nick and Sheeni become close but just as everything is going to plan Sheeni’s fanatically religious parents take a dislike to Nick. Plus he has to leave. The only way for them to be together is for Nick to get kicked out of home by his mother so that he can live with his Dad who lives nearer to Sheeni. So Nick develops a Tyler Durden-esque alternative personality – Francois Dillinger. As Francois, Nick grows a moustache, takes up smoking, drinking and generally being a tough no nonsense sort of guy.
The idea of having Nick take on two distinctly different personalities much like the characters in Fight Club is clever and enjoyable to watch. However I think as a premise it was not taken far enough. There are a couple of deliciously dark, right on the edge, lines that Francois has that are perfect for Nick’s tough alter-ego, such as his come-on line to Sheeni: "I'm going to wrap your legs around my head and wear you like the crown you are". It’s on the edge of decency for a 15 rated film but it’s a perfect line. There should have been more lines like this, especially because Michael Cera is capable of delivering this sort of content with such brilliance. His ability to deliver lines deadpan, or to throw away caustic lines is pretty much unmatched by his contemporaries. Portia Doubleday is also excellent in this film. She is well cast, and although I’ve not seen her in anything before, she looks as though she has been acting in this sort of movie for many years, as she show faultless composure and enviable acting ability. She matches Cera every inch of the way, and is definitely one to watch.
As mentioned, the script is good, although it does go off in a strange direction towards the end. There are some missed opportunities but when you stand this film against the likes of last year’s I Love You Beth Cooper starring Paul Rust and Hayden Panettiere, which had in many ways a similar storyline, you can see exactly what Cera and Doubleday add to the mix, so much better is this film that Beth Cooper.
For me, Youth In Revolt, isn’t perfect but it’s fairly close. It’s difficult to know exactly what sort of audience this sort of film is aimed at. Is it older teens who are going through the same sort of thing? I guess. Personally at 32 maybe I’m too old for teen comedies! But I still enjoyed it.