Yes, this is another one of those films where a teenager wants to sleep with a girl he likes. We’ve seen lots of them before and most of them aren’t that great. Refreshingly though, this one is pretty good!
Michael Cera is Nick Twisp. He’s a bit of a loser, he’s awkward and he lives a quiet life. When his mother and her boyfriend take him to a trailer park for a little holiday, he meets Sheeni, the girl of his dreams. But Nick is disappointed to find out she has a boyfriend and lives far away from him. So he creates a new bad boy persona with a little moustache so he can win the love of his life and make his way into her bed as well as her heart. If that sounds a little like a familiar story that’s because it is. It’s the additions of awkward Michael Cera and his split personality that make it more original.
Michael Cera is great. And seeing him talk to himself with two different personalities really highlights how underrated his acting actually is. He’s pretty good! As Nick Twisp he’s shy and his usual kind of awkward. As his bad boy alter ego Francois he’s impulsive and reckless and fearless. It’s pretty great seeing each personality take over at various times to have his moment. And when they’re standing next to each other reacting to one another it’s pretty funny. Portia Doubleday as Sheeni puts in a solid performance, but there’s not really a moment for her to shine properly. She’s great as the confident girl who knows what she wants, but she just never gets a really great moment. Nick’s family are all great though. There’s Jean Smart as his not so caring mother, Zach Galifianakis as her trashy boyfriend, Ray Liotta as her angry police officer new new boyfriend, Steve Buscemi as his clueless father and Fred Willard as the hilarious family friend who loves helping immigrants. All are great, all are hilarious.
The film is very light in tone, even though it sometimes deals with this 16 year old guys own personal crisis with his identity. The lengths he goes to, willingly or unwillingly, to get this girl are very far. But it’s always pretty funny. It isn’t the funniest film in the world, but it is funny enough to class this as a good comedy still. And Cera is great to watch. He’s just so… awkward! The story is pretty good too and it has some good turns and developments. There’s a nice chipper soundtrack and some cool animation scenes that keep things interesting and set this apart from the more generic teen rom-coms.
Overall, I’d recommend ‘Youth in Revolt‘. Not as a first choice or even the 20th, but maybe if someone just wanted a nice little film to stick on and laugh and enjoy. It’s got some good performances, good laughs and a nice little story. In my mind, that’s a win.
JACK’S SCORE: 4/5