Sunday, June 27, 2010

Review: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist



I admit this with some embarrassment but when it came out in theaters in 2008 I was really interested in seeing Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. I’m not sure why I did. Maybe I’m just a sucker for trailers about young love, what with me being such a hopeless romantic and all. But I can tell you why I didn’t see it until today: First and foremost this is a Teenager Movie, and I have long since stopped being a teenager. It’s a bit weird to go into a movie theater, alone, to watch a romantic movie about kids with that hanging over your head. However every time I tried to watch it on Home Video one thing or another other caused me to have to stop within the fist ten minutes. Well I finally was able to sit down and watch this flick all the way through. To the surprise of absolutely no one it wasn’t even close to being worth the wait.

Nick (Michael Cera) has recently been dumped by his “supposedly” super hot girlfriend Tris and in his depression he’s been making Mix-CDs for her for the last few weeks, because he’s a creepy loser. Norah (Kat Dennings) is a friend frenemy of Tris who’ s been stealing the Mix-CDs she discards in the trash (Because Norah’s also kind of a creepy loser) and has developed a crush on the lad, whom she’s never met, due to their similar taste in music. On a night where the band Where’s Fluffy? happens to be a putting on a secret show Nick’s band The Jerk-Offs are playing a gig that Norah and her friend per chance to check out, not realizing who Nick is. Because of stupid teenage mental baggage that I don’t fully understand Norah tries to counter Tris’ catty comments by getting the first guy she sees to pretend to be her boyfriend: Nick. In the aftermath of the awkward moment Nick and Norah end up going off to find the Where’s Fluffy? show. Adventures ensue.

He's a bass player who nails Kat Dennings

I'm a bass player who has an internet blog

Undeniably there’s a cool atmosphere in the film. The late night adventures these young folk experience is pretty darn cool to see. Various clubs and bars and restaurants clearly open 24 Hours and a constantly bustling city despite it being the middle of the night makes up the backdrop of the film. This takes place in New York City, so perhaps I’m just not used to such things and those fat cat bastards in NYC get to live it up over there. I live in boring Kalamazoo, MI and if this movie took place here Nick and Norah would have spent most of the night in an IHOP since very little is open here after 2AM.

Nick & Norah's Unlimited Pancakes

Of course this begs a very annoying question: why the hell are these teenagers running around New York City literally ALL NIGHT LONG? What High School kid is allowed to get away with this? When I was in High School if I wasn’t home by 9PM I was grounded. If I didn’t get home until 7am the next morning I would have been beaten to an inch of my life; deservedly so. But these characters are literally driving around everywhere in the ungodly hours, underage drinking and clubbing and making no attempt to show that they had any trouble with bars carding them or suspicious police. At one point one of the characters’ cell phone rang and I thought “Ah, that must be their parents wondering WHY THE HELL THEY WERE STILL OUT SO LATE!” Nope! Just another friend calling to further the plot. Why are there no parents in this movie? Do they have parents? Norah for sure has a dad; it’s a major plot point. So where in the blue hell is he and why does he seem so unconcerned about his daughter’s whereabouts? (Fun Fact: She’s out drinking and whoring. Great goddamn parenting, asshole!)

Parental Supervision is for Pussies

Perhaps I’m being nitpicky, but from the moment the plot shifts into Drive this is an obvious distraction for me (The movie almost immediately begins with teenagers getting drunk in a bar, no questions asked). I was so put off by this that I was unable to really get into anything else that happened here. This was based on a book; I wonder if this was a similar issue there as well. Let’s just move on before my head explodes.

The cast if this film is the definition of average here. Not to say that the actors are average, but I never felt terribly attached to any of them during the viewing probably because they gave me no real reason to. Is it just me or has Michael Cera been making his living by playing the same character he played in Arrested Development over and over again. You know: the awkwardly shy lovable loser with a big heart. I have seen most of the movies Cera has starred in and I can tell you right here the difference between Nick in this flick and the hunter/gatherer gatherer Oh in Year One is negligible despite Nick living over 2000 years in the damn future. I have to assume that’s the extent of Cera’s range, but I suppose the true test will come with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World later this year. Kat Dennings is a bit more compelling, I suppose. She does seem to have more of a defined and well rounded (If frustrating) personality than most of the rest of the cast. Hell, she even almost has a back-story. But the two of them don’t really have much chemistry on-screen. Well, maybe they do and I’m just a poor judge, but it didn’t seem anything special to me at all.

I should also add that the major plot point of this flick is the fact that broken hearted Nick trying to get over his ex while Norah practically throws herself at him. Dude. Do you really expect me to buy that any warm blooded straight man on Earth would remember his ex-girlfriend’s name if Kat “Holy Mother of God, What a Babe” Dennings showed the slightest bit of interests in him? The movie has the nerve to insist that Norah isn’t as physically attractive as Tris. This is a filthy, filthy lie.

Pictured: Proof that Jews are the chosen people

Just so you understand my point Kat Dennings is really really attractive. She, as of today, now ranks #2 on my Hottest Women in Hollywood list. And just so you know the score:

#3) Amy Acker

#2) Kat Dennings

#1) Michelle Tractenberg

The rest of the cast was fine, I guess, though no one really did anything for me. It somewhat amuses me to see Jay Baruchel (Who plays Tal, Norah’s douchbag indie rock boyfriend or something) not playing some big nerdy character like he usually does, but I also don’t care too much about him so it’s not that a big deal. However the character Tris stands out to me more than the rest of the players, not because her actor Alexis Dziena was particularly compelling at all (No one in this flick was) but because Tris is so cartoonishly evil. She’s downright sadistic in her dealings with the other characters, even the ones who are supposed to be her friends. She’s as sinister as an antagonist of a Tyler Perry movie/play (i.e. really freaking evil). Did she really need to be that bad? She has not a single redeeming aspect about her and I’m fairly certain any one that much of a bitch in the real life should at least have mastered pretending to have emotions in order to not be the subject of justifiable homicide. I mean, why was Nick with her in the first place? Why wasn’t he celebrating their break-up like she had green skin and he was in the damn Lollipop Guild? Why the hell didn’t Norah ever punch her out for all her vicious bitch talk? I saw them standing together; Norah could rip her in half like a phone book if she wanted to!

Pictured: Tris, the film's antagonist

I didn’t like the music either. I assume we’re to take the soundtrack as at least an approximate of the type of Music CDs Nick makes, but it was mostly boring indie garbage. If I can’t rock out to it there’s a 75% chance that I’ll dislike it. The plot was fine, aside from the missing parents and an unreasonably evil antagonist, though I have to wonder how important to the plot it was for Norah to have a boyfriend, especially considering she seems to dislike him. Well now that I think about it I suppose it does convey her own self hatred and strong desire to be loved, but even so all the scenes with Tal felt pretty forced, kind of like extra padding.

I know I’ve given you pretty much nothing but negativity in this review and it might seem like I hated this movie, but honestly I thought it was reasonably alright. It wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn’t a waste of time either. It’s slightly more cerebral the average teen flick and benefits greatly from Kat Dennings being there (Did I mention I thinks she’s very pretty?). But then again I would say she’s the only reason to go out of the way to watch this movie. That said if you like watching teenagers running around doing stuff at night with limited parental supervision then you’ll like this film. If you like to watch fictional teenagers having more fun in one night than you ever will you’ll like his film. If you would sell several of your organs for a chance to date Miss Dennings then you already have this movie in your DVD collection. It’s a decent enough movie to watch but you’re not missing that much by skipping it. It’s better than Charlie Bartlett but not as good as Superbad.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist ends up being an average movie and therefore I give it 3 out of 5 Adorable Pandas. Kat Dennings gets 5 out of 5 for having pouty lips and a great smile.


Pros

-Kat Dennings is likely hotter than your girlfriend

-If that’s what New York City is really like sign me up

Cons

-Unrealistically out of control teenagers made my head hurt

-Michael Cera needs a new gimmick

-Characters weren’t all that interesting

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