Movie Review: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Starring: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Aaron Yoo, Ari Graynor, Alexis Dziena
Directed By: Peter Sollett
Written By: Lorne Scafaria (from the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan)
Sony/Columbia, 2008
PG-13; 90 minutes
5 stars (out of 5)


Those who miss those 80s teen life films by John Hughes, and those who enjoy Cameron Crowe--especially when he's dealing with music--will surely love Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, which is as endearing as any of the aforementioned sorts of movies without trying to be "retro" or nostalgic.

The story is simple: Cera plays Nick, a would-be musician, if only his gay bandmates would settle on a name for their band. Norah (Dennings) is the reluctant daughter of a recording studio exec. They meet while out searching for Where's Fluffy?--an elusive band rumored to be playing somewhere in the city that night. In the midst of all this is (a) Nick's ex-girlfriend for whom he's been pining and moping, (b) Norah's friend Caroline who is drunk and lost in the city, (c) a pseudo-boyfriend of Norah's who is evidently mostly enjoying her company for the perks her big wig father can extend, including free meals and a potential recording contract.

The movie is set and filmed in New York, and unlike in some movies in which NYC = generic city setting, here the city is a character in its own right, and people familiar with New York will admire its role as the group of teens maneuvers through the streets and in and out of clubs, diners and other sites. The actors, too, were pitch perfect in their portrayals; it would have been easy for several to go over the top, but clearly the direction was key and spot on. (As an aside, however, I would like to say that as much as I like Michael Cera, and as perfect as he was here, I'd like to see him stretch himself a bit in the future. I feel as if I've seen him do the same kind of thing many times over.)

One warning about this film: if you have a delicate gag reflex (which I do), you'll want to cover your eyes or leave the room when Caroline goes into the bus terminal bathroom. And you'll be fervently wishing someone would throw that gum away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had totally forgotten about this film. I'll add it to my Netflix list now!