A Few Good Moments
Great expectations continue to interfere with my movie enjoyment. Youth in Revolt is another example of how I can get too psyched up about a particular film, only to be brought down by what I see on screen. With a terrific cast including Michael Cera, Fred Willard, Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi and Ray Liotta, Youth in Revolt appeared to be just what the doctor ordered to cure my January doldrums. Alas, that didnít happen. Still, this comedy contains a few good moments while watching Ceraís teenage character try to lose his virginity and end up with the girl of his dreams.
Nick (Cera), like most 17-year-old boys, thinks a lot about sex. He also talks quite explicitly about it with his buddy (Erik Knudsen), whoís also a virgin. When Nick meets Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), he goes on a mission to win her affection and to make his innocent status a thing of the past. But Nick believes heís not bad enough for Sheeni, so he creates an alter ego named Francois Dillinger to help him succeed with his plans. Francois wears a mustache and tight white slacks. Heís a daring Frenchman, and he talks dirty Ė even more so than Nick. Itís not surprising when Francois gets Nick into lots of trouble. Cera (Juno) plays both roles here, but his turn as Francois doesnít work too well, probably because itís difficult to accept this appealing actor as a Mr. Hyde-type character. As Nick, though, Cera pulls off some witty lines (i.e. ďlovely angel of the lavatoryĒ), and Iím still chuckling over his unique one-note delivery style.
Too bad Youth in Revolt turns out to be such a hodgepodge of dysfunctional family scenes, drug sequences, lustful teenagers and cartoon inserts. Itís disappointing to see the wonderful Jean Smart (TVís Samantha Who?) relegated to playing Nickís man-crazy mom -- and one of my favorite funnymen, Fred Willard (Waiting for Guffman), receiving so little camera time here as a caring but clueless neighbor. Steve Buscemi (Big Fish) and Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs) also appear only briefly in roles requiring little effort. Buscemi is Nickís child-support hating dad; Liotta is one of his motherís boyfriends.
The good news? Cera and Doubleday (Legend of the Mummy) come across as an intriguing teenage couple. They share some tender, funny moments that almost make Youth in Revolt worth seeing.
(Released by Dimension Films and rated ďRĒ for sexual content, language and drug use.)
For more information about Youth in Revolt, go to the Internet Movie Data Base of Rotten Tomatoes website.