In Cinemas: Michael Cera's latest attempt to get laid in YOUTH IN REVOLT

Michael Cera seems to crop up in every single quirky teen comedy, (Jesse Eisenberg has provided a credible alternative in films like Adventureland but has still done little more than gain a foothold in Cera's domain), so it is therefore little surprise that this film about an awkward, geeky teenager with intellectual aspirations is headed by the usual suspect. In this outing, however, there is a bit of twist to his usual role... On the face of it Nick Twisp might be the archetypal Cera character, comprised in equal measure of Paulie Bleeker from Junoand Nick from Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, but when he meets Sheeni Saunders he goes a little crazy. Desperate to escape his geeky exterior in order to impress her, and beat off his rival Trent (an expert in sports and futurist poetry) he invents a French alter-ego named Francois Dillinger. Having released the bad boy in him, Twisp (or rather Dillinger) goes on a wild rampage that will, he hopes, land him with the woman of his dreams. It's a welcome addition of a new dimension to the increasingly familiar character mould, and it makes for some hilarious moments. The bad-boy antics of Francois don't often go beyond on-screen zaniness we've seen before, but they are executed with great comic precision and juxtaposed perfectly with Cera's well-polished innocence. A good number of these scenes got some big belly-laughs from across the audience (and it was a broad spectrum in the theatre) but I recommend you don't watch the trailer: it'll ruin most of them. The comic side of the film isn't what shines though. It essentially amounts to a post-JunoPorky's and introduces some unnecessarily stereotypical subsidiary characters to keep the joke levels high, and these instead pushed my blood pressure up and the tone further down. A horny teenager with an English accent joins Nick for an obsessive road trip in a stolen car, a horny teenage girl provides a bit of bawdy humour, and an angst-ridden emo provides a few useful plot points (plus some great comedy gold for you anti-emos out there). There is one exception to the parade of mediocrity that characterises the selection of subsidiaries, and that is a cop who is sleeping with Nick's mother. Why is he different? Because he is inexplicably played by Ray Liotta who, I suspect, has found a penchant for comedy acting since having to burst into tears while shouting 'Fear me!' and wearing only leopard-skin underpants in the abomination that was Revolver. An equally inexplicable appearance from Steve Buscemi is equally welcome but, for me, less funny. What makes the film really interesting is how it deals with a youthfully obsessive love. Playing on feelings and impulses that I'm sure we all relate to, a witty and playful portrait of teen love emerges out of a less exciting teen comedy to create a film that is at least as heartwarming and enjoyable as it is funny. I can't help wishing someone would fire whatever casting director keeps getting Cera in for these roles though, he might smother the quirky indie comedy genre to death, and where'd we be then? Left with a choice between Disaster Movie and Couples Retreat. I can't be the only one who gags at the thought of that.

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Michael J Edwards hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.