“Youth in Revolt”
Well, it’s a portentous title, but I think they’re trying for
something a little less ambitious here.
No grand social pronouncements, like, say, the peace movement
during the 1960’s. More
like a couple of contemporary slacker kids, who think they’re in love,
rebelling against parents in order to be with each other.
A very old story with a new twist:
this time we’re celebrating the nerds.
Or we could just call them social misfits.
Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) seems to be an observer in his own world
(an impression enhanced by his voiceover narration of this film about
him). His parents are
divorced. His Mom (Jean
Smart) dates a succession of losers, but apparently without needing to
hold down a job, trying to survive on her child support payments.
His Dad (Steve Buscemi), also currently unemployed, has a very
young, sexy girlfriend, and little time for him.
The soulful, frustrated Nick has no money, no girlfriend, no
gainful employment himself, and only one real friend, who’s every bit as
miserable as he is.
OK, obviously we’re rooting for the Sad Sack Little Lost Boy
who’s stumbling around trying to find any meaning or fun in his life.
Then he finally meets a girl.
Sheeni (Portia Doubleday) lives in a trailer park with
religious-fanatic parents and an older brother who does drugs (could we
assemble any more clichés?). Michael
and Sheeni carry on a cute little reluctant romance, which has no place to
go unless he can get his mother to throw him out so he can move in with
his Dad, who lives in the same town as Sheeni.
So, in order for him to rise above his milquetoast self, he invents
his Diablo persona, Francois Dillinger, who’s always encouraging Nick to
do something naughty, like cut up his mother’s clothes, or set the car
on fire. (Somehow, this comes
out laughable.) Sheeni
encourages Nick, but also tells him she already has a boyfriend, which
only increases his urgency to prove himself a jaunty, debonair suitor for
her fickle affections.
Michael Cera has perfected the lovable dweeb role, and he almost
gets away with being an angelic-looking delinquent sociopath, and we’re
still rooting for him. Portia
Doubleday is just the right mix of earthy and ethereal:
real, but not quite obtainable.
The humor is, predictably, raunchy, but it’s all talk (no actual
nudity, unless you count the little animated figurines that float across
the screen?). You
probably won’t want to see this with your children, no matter how old
they are, or your parents, no matter how old you are.
But it could be a private little guilty pleasure for any adult who
enjoys sexual innuendo humor, and a certain offhanded vulgar innocence.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace