Don’t you wish you were Michael Cera? Y’know.. the guy on this poster. And pretty much every poster for films that include a loser teen who tries to get laid. He never seems to age, and always gets what he wants in the end, like a child from the ages of 1 to 5.
Superbad was his breakthrough role, and in all honesty he made me laugh then. But with tripe like Year One and Youth In Revolt, Cera seriously needs to consider a role that doesn’t involve him being embarrassed by an unbelievably attractive girl whilst he is in his underwear.
I really don’t want to spend too much time on this trash, so I will copy the plot from Wikipedia:
“Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is a 16-year-old who is an outcast of his generation. He meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), an intellectual and beautiful girl. The only things really standing in his way are Sheeni’s poetry-writing ex-boyfriend Trent (Jonathan B. Wright), Nick’s temperamental divorced parents (Steve Buscemi and Jean Smart), and Nick’s mom’s boyfriends (Zach Galifianakis and Ray Liotta). When Nick realizes she is not interested, he comes up with an alter-ego, named François Dillinger, who resembles Nick, but has blue eyes, a mustache, a deeper voice, and a player/bad boy attitude to help him with his pursuit of Sheeni. But when François makes Nick a wanted criminal, everything spins out of control.”
One name stuck out for me in that cast list as one who could possibly be funny: Zach Galifianakis, or “Alan from The Hangover“. Sadly, even he doesn’t bring humour to the table. It’s a shame, because his drunken tramp-like character could have been utilized to greater effect and made us feel sorry for Twisp more, due to how his step father treats him. But to be honest, there is no quality about Twisp that would make me pity him. His actions result in a portrayal of a complete ass, full of jealousy and immaturity. Maybe this was the intention of the director all along, but I doubt it. Looking at his previous roles, they wouldn’t have cast Cera if we weren’t supposed to feel sorry for him.
But this whole film is immature. Maybe I just didnt “get” the attempts at humour. One scene in particular that springs to mind is his faked death. This probably got the biggest laugh from the audience (who were also noticeably silent otherwise), but it was just nothing new. One thing that didn’t make sense is that in the novel, Twisp is 14 years old. Cera does not look 14. And the main plot is his character trying everything to fornicate with Sheeni. I just don’t find that believable.
And this Francois alter ego? I assume this is the attempt to be artistic, as Sheeni’s wall is covered in pictures of Belmondo, star of French New Wave films. Francois (who again I think is named after Francois Truffaut, a director of pioneering French New Wave movies such as A Bout De Souffle). The appearance and mannerisms of Francois has many similarities to the FNW too; the chain smoking aspect is adopted from A Bout De Souffle, without a doubt. To be honest, this was probably the only redeeming factor of the film, but with the rest of the material it seemed to offend the New Wave, rather than pay homage to it.
Going into Youth In Revolt, I genuinely had no idea what it was about. I had seen a few posters and a 20 second TV spot that didn’t really give me any indication, but I really don’t think it would have made a difference on my opinion. As of February 5th, Youth In Revolt is the worst film of the year so far.