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Youth in Revolt

January 28, 2010

Youth In Revolt, Film Review


A good decade has passed since the outrageously popular American Pie, but in the world of cinema teenagers are still obsessed with one thing – losing their virginity. This can be seen from the very funny Superbad to the even funnier surprise hit Sex Drive. Enter then Youth in Revolt – the film adaptation of C.D. Payne’s 1993 novel – and the life of Nick Twisp.

Played by teen staple Michael Cera (Juno, Superbad, Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist), Nick Twisp is your average 16-year-old; precociously smart and sex mad. When his mum’s new boyfriend Jerry (Zach ‘The Hangover’ Galifianakis) sells a gang of sailors a dodgy Chevrolet, the family have to flee to a mobile home park to lie low. It is here that Nick meets the stunning and equally precocious Sheeni, played by Portia Doubleday.

Twist can’t compete with the Gallic charm of Serge Gainsbourg – or can he?

He instantly and inevitably falls in love with the disaffected rich girl but realises that he simply cannot compare with her ambition of snaring a French husband, dreams fuelled by her posters of Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Nor can he compete with Sheeni’s very real boyfriend Trent – a champion swimmer and writer of ‘futurist percussive poetry’.

In steps Nick’s chain-smoking alter ego Francois Dillinger, adorned with white chinos, pleated shirt and an impressive ‘tache. Through Francois’ cool influence, Nick is able to say and do things he would not normally dare to try to win the affections of his Catherine Deneuve. Rather predictably, events take a turn for the worse culminating in Nick going on the run thanks to a string of incidents including druggings, deception and criminal damage.

With echoes of True Romance, Youth In Revolt skews the traditional love story

A strong cast is headed up by unfortunately underwritten cameos from the potentially awesome triple-whammy of Ray Liotta, Justin Long and Steve Buscemi. Miguel Arteta’s direction however is flawless and the cool soundtrack references Frank Sinatra, Fatlip and Fun Boy Three. With echoes of True Romance (although even as Francois, Cera is just too adorable to be the new Christian Slater) and The Wackness, Youth in Revolt skews the traditional love story. It mostly works but if you’ve hit the 20 mark, the Dawson’s Creek-style script and comedy set-pieces may feel like less of a revolution.

Youth In Revolt goes on UK nationwide release on 5th February 2010

Originally published at ng-magazine.com, Tuesday January 26 2010

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