Thursday, January 7, 2010

Youth in Revolt

Running Time: An hour and a half
MPAA Rating: R

Nick Twisp wants what every high school guy does when portrayed in an R-rated movie: to lose his virginity. He is kept from fulfilling his goal by his unusual tastes in pop culture and passive attitude, turning off most of the girls his age that he comes across. When beautiful Sheeni Saunders enters his life, sharing his love for Frank Sinatra and obscure films, the only thing keeping them apart is his inability make a definitive move to steal her heart from her current egotistic boyfriend.

Youth in Revolt sets itself up in the same way (500) Days of Summer did last year. Boy meets girl who seems extraordinarily perfect for him, falls in love, and the relationship is brought to a sudden halt, leaving the boy reeling. However, instead of the limerent obsession Joseph-Gordon Levitt's character kept for Zooey Deschanel's, protagonist Nick Twisp creates an alternate personality named Francois (Sheeni's imaginary French lover) to express his rebellious side in an attempt to overcome circumstances and win the girl.

This movie is one of a rare few that manage to outperform their source material. Youth in Revolt strengthens the comedic timing and storytelling in its adaptation, making it feel more like Superbad than any of the other "high school virgin comedy" genre of films. The coming-of-age book that it is based on is about and targeted toward an age group that won't be able to purchase their own tickets at most theaters, which is a bold move from the filmmakers.

To nitpick a little bit, it does pull me out of the experience whenever people in their 20s (or, unfortunately, older) play pubescent high school kids in movies. Michael Cera seems to be eternally trapped in high school (what a nightmare) as almost all of his movies have placed him back into his angsty, yet witty and intelligent student character role. But that is far from enough to not recommend this movie.

Youth in Revolt is a great love comedy that will likely appeal to fans of (500) Days of Summer without being redundant or stereotypical. It is sweet, funny, and over all a great way to start off the movie-going year.

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