At some point the quirky indie comedy with opening credits written like they're ripped from a high schooler's doodles in a notebook, a soundtrack of bands you're not cool enough to know and youthful actors with that sort of on screen presence that just makes you love them is going to become an unfunny cliche of itself as more and more companies try to pump them out. Luckily for us we aren't there yet and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, the most recent in these style of movies, is quirky, funny and enjoyable throughout.
The film takes place over the course of one night in which Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Denning) meet and proceed to have crazy sober antics together since neither of them drink. Unfortunately for them Norah's best friend does drink and gets lost after Nick's gay heavy metal band mates lose her. Also drinking that night, as the group of high schoolers looks for a mythical band aptly named "Where's Fluffy" in bars across New York, is Nick's ex-girlfriend who broke up with him on his "b-day" and Norah's on again off again boyfriend. Everyone's looking for Fluffy so clearly paths cross and entangled relationships ensue.
I won't argue that it's the most original plot in the world but the undeniable charm of Michael Cera and the rest of the quirky and enjoyable cast delivers a comedy that hardly ever disappoints in making you laugh, though the beginning stars off slow, but also plays out with a real world charm that is missing from many comedies of the same ilk. Aaron Yoo and Rafi Gavron might steal the show as Nick's band mates who are constantly arguing over increasingly inappropriate names for their band. I'd have to argue though that the most impressive performance comes from Kat Dennings, who I am slowly falling in love with. As Norah she delivers a wonderful straight edge to Cera's charmingly befuddled attitude, which everyone will note is far different from the charmingly befuddledness of Hugh Grant who actually invented the concept -- or maybe that was Jimmy Stewart. But I'm drifting off into film history and losing my point, which is that Dennings and Cera deliver and have the sort of awkward chemistry between a guy and a girl that is usually kept out of the movies and reserved for reality.
Which is even more impressive when considering the tight writing and long list of punchlines that could have easily fallen flat had less qualified actors delivered them. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is one of those screenplays that are truly dangerous for filmmakers. Picking it up and reading it would only tell you that it could be done right but that it could also go horribly, horribly wrong if the stars don't align because if they don't it's just going to be another bad romantic teen comedy in NYC.
And I suppose at it's heart that's all Nick and Norah is. Jealous exes, drunk friends, parties and alcohol all under the guise of nerdy sub-culture is pretty much the run of this film. Add in Zac Efron and Ashley Tisdale and take out the gay band members of course and the story becomes another cliche teen romance. However, those actors aren't in the film, there are gay band members and while at its base it might be just another teen movie the acting and writing of Nick and Norah make it so much more.
4 out of 5. It's funny and charming, what more do expect from Cera? Trailer
I also saw How to Lose Friends and Alienate People which was a big pile of OK with Simon Pegg tossed in the middle and Blindness which was over directed and disappointing.
Also give me clicks on all three