DVD: Youth in Revolt

Photo: Amazon.com(Que Cera, Cera.)

Starring Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Justin Long, Ray Liotta and Steve Buscemi. Directed by Miguel Arteta. 90 Minutes. 14A
Everyone and their second-cousin complains that Michael Cera only has one sorta clever schtick: the gawkwardly cute dude in brightly-coloured cords. Everyone and their second-cousin hasn’t seen Youth in Revolt.
Adapted from the awesome C.D. Payne teen novel of the same name, Youth in Revolt is the Cera vehicle you should be quoting and recommending to your friends. This hysterical flick has everyone’s favourite Brampton-ite (sorry, Biebs) stepping out of his superawks Superbad shell and into two, completely opposing personas: the straight-laced, but sex-crazed wannabee teenage hooligan Nick Twisp and his suave, moustached sex bomb of a French alter ego, Francois. Needless to say, watching him move back and forth between the two is a blast.Nick Twisp was a normal 15-year-old once. Well, sort of (he spent a lot of time masturbating in his room alone, renting Fellini films and listening to Frank Sinatra). The multiple personalities come out as a result of his conflicted relationship with teenage bombshell Shenni (Portia Doubleday), the girl of his incessant wet dreams. Nick meets Sheeni while on a pseduo-family vacay (him, his mom and her latest jerky bf) at a mobile home camp. She takes to Nicky immediately, taking him for long afternoon walks and seductively asking him to lather her naked back with SPF 15. You know, kid stuff.

The flirtation comes to halt when Sheeni admits the truth: she likes her men a bit older, wiser and well, recklessly Parisienne (her ideal dude is Jean-Paul Belmondo in Breathless). Oh, and she has a boy thing back at school named Trent. Desperate to win some bonus points in his lady’s wandering eyes, Nick decides to well, revolt, letting his inner Frenchman take over.

The rest of the movie recounts his explicitly rebellious exploits, including blowing up half a town, naked hitchhiking, French dog adopting and pleasuring a cartoon while on high-off-his-ass on mushrooms. It sounds juvenile, like Road Trip with a side of American Pie, but like it’s lead character (and actor), it’s so much smarter than you’d expect. Unlike those blatant sex romps, Youth in Revolt has a subtle script, relying on dignified disses, as opposed to limp dick jokes, to bring laughs. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the book’s sarcastic scribe, Payne, co-wrote it.

Unfortunately, if you are a fan of Payne’s original book, you’ll notice quite a few sections have been removed during big-screen transfer, namely, the awkward relationship with Nick’s BFF, Lefty, Fuzzy and the multiple Alberts. But these changes don’t really take away from the story, save for an unsightly cut near the close (One word: Carlotta). Plus, it’s hard to really focus on what’s missing when Cera’s on-screen, bringing the our favourite single (and ready to mingle) dude to totally awesome life.

Michael does such a pitch perfect job embodying Francois, it’s downright depressing this movie didn’t do better a the box-office. The dude is a deadpan wonder, making you forget all about Bleeker, Evan, George Michael and that other Nick (friend to Norah and her infinite playlist). At least for an hour and a half. A-

EXTRAS: A commentary with Arteta and Cera, deleted scenes, extra animated sequences, auditions

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