Youth in Revolt
is a coming-of-age comedy that puts a fresh and outrageous stamp on a tale of adolescent obsession and rebellion. Based on the acclaimed novel by C.D. Payne, Youth in Revolt
is the story of Nick Twisp - a unique, but affable teen with a taste for the finer things in life like Sinatra and Fellini - who falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful, free-spirited Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) while on a family vacation. But family, geography and jealous ex-lovers conspire to keep these two apart. With Sheeni's encouragement, Nick abandons his dull, predictable life and develops a rebellious alter ego: Francois. With his ascot, his moustache and his cigarette, Francois will stop at nothing to be with Sheeni and leads Nick Twisp on a path of destruction with unpredictable and uproarious consequences.
Michael Cera adds to his collection of quick-witted young men with his portrayal of 16-year-old Nick Twisp. Born on the trashy side of the Oakland tracks, Nick hates his name almost as much as his life. Everyone he knows, including his divorced parents (Jean Smart and Steve Buscemi), gets more action than he does, but his luck changes when he meets junior femme fatale Sheeni (Portia Doubleday) during a trailer-park vacation. She may have overprotective parents (Mary Kay Place and M. Emmet Walsh) and a boyfriend back at school, but she also likes Jean-Paul Belmondo movies, Serge Gainsbourg records--and Nick. There's just one hitch--she prefers bad boys, so Nick creates cynical, cigarette-smoking alter ego François Dillinger to win her heart (just as musician Gainsbourg created devilish doppelgänger Gainsbarre). Little does Nick know he's playing with fire--literally--since François gives him license to set his pent-up inhibitions free: he sneaks into Sheeni's private-school dorm, blows up his mother's boyfriend's car (Zach Galifianakis as the boyfriend), and trips on magic mushrooms with Sheeni's burnout brother and a radical family friend (Justin Long and Fred Willard, both hilarious). As with Chuck and Buck
and The Good Girl
, Miguel Arteta's adaptation of C.D. Payne's young adult series offers equal parts sorrow and humor. The animated sequences add whimsy, but there's something more disturbing than romantic about Twisp's manufactured multiple personality disorder. Cera handles the two personas well, but Youth in Revolt
still registers as a sex comedy for people who prefer crime dramas. --Kathleen C. Fennessy Stills from Youth in Revolt (Click for larger image)