Haven't seen an especially good rom-com in a while, so this week we're taking a look at Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, which is now in theaters everywhere.
Starring everyone's favorite timidly funny nerd Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Juno, Superbad) and the unconventionally attractive Kat Dennings (The 40 Year Old Virgin), Nick & Norah is another movie trying to follow the success of the overly hip comedy Juno, and is pulling out all stops; hip characters, a cute love interest story, and hey, why not, lots of indie music.
Nick (Michael Cera) is a quiet high school nerd who plays in a band The Jerk Offs' with his friends who all happen to be gay. Also, he has a sweet ride " a tiny orange Yugo that barely has the ability to start, let alone take him where he needs to go. With all this going on, you think the guy would be on cloud 9, right? Not so, because we find out that Nick has been recently dumped by his ridiculously hot, slutty, how-the-f**k-did-they-ever-end-up-together-at-all, man eating girlfriend Tris' (Alexis Dziena). Naturally, Nick is taking the break up like a man and deals with it by sending her sad voicemails, along with making overly hand-decorated mix CD's that he leaves at her front door.
How's Tris handling the breakup? She laughs it off, and tosses every mix CD Nick has left her directly into the trash where Norah picks them up. Norah (Kat Dennings) is a sassy high school girl who hates Tris and develops a musical crush on whoever's been making these really sweet CD's.
Nick's band of queens manage to pull him out of depression long enough to drag him out into the city for their bands first gig at a bar, while Norah and her bff Caroline decide to hit NYC while on a quest to find clues leading to a "secret show" being played by the best band ever, Where's Fluffy', that everyone who is cool (apparently) are all raving about finding.
At this point, I'm pretty sure you've already guessed how the movie ends. No? Alright, let's recap. So far we have the following: a cute nice guy in a band with a broken heart, an indie girl with a passion for music and a crush on whoever has been making Mix CD's, them both meeting each other unexpectedly at a bar at NYC during a music show, teens scrambling around all night until 4am based on random DJ/bar clues to find a guerrilla show being played by a band which coincidentally happens to be the favorite of both Nick and Norah.
Aaaaand go! No cheating now, eyes on your own papers. Ready? Time's up! Let's see now, you had "They all get naked and play shuffleboard while listening to the white album"? I'll give you some points for creativity but no, the correct answer is "They meet up and go on a crazy adventure through NYC where they fall in love and both end up finding themselves at the surprise Where's Fluffy' show!!"
OK now that I've turned down the Ass-O-Meter, what I meant to say is that this film's biggest problem is the screenplay, written by Diablo Cody's (Juno) main squeeze Lorene Scafaria. You can tell while watching the movie that it was meant to be a from dusk till dawn' (party-wise not vampire wise) between Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, but the dialogue just isn't good as it should be, and what's worse, the pace is just horribly slow. Nick & Norah would've done much better (INFINITELY better, one might say? ..I'll show myself out) if the pace was picked up and wasn't so slow it was boring me in my seat. Also, it's a little hard to swallow the story telling me Nick fell in love with this girl he just met. At least Norah's excuse is that she's been listening to his romantic Mix's for the last month.
I think part of the problem may be Michael Cera himself. As far as the acting in this movie goes, Cera is everything you'd expect; he could do the role of the timid nerdy guy with both hands tied behind his back. The only issue is that the delivery of the dialogue and the pace of the movie is so slow, it makes you wonder if maybe they should've cast somebody else for this role? Aside from Cera, Ari Graynor plays a pretty good drunken mess as Norah's bff Caroline, Alexis Dziena is a convincing weird bitch as Nick's ex Tris, but the real star of the movie is Kat Dennings as Norah. Almost all of her lines are delivered well and she has a confident mood that really fits her character on the screen. I was a little surprised at first, thinking maybe she wasn't attractive enough to be the love interest in this movie, but at the end, I have to admit the way she presented herself as Norah was pretty damn attractive.
Grade: This is pretty much your typical rom com formula, that tries a little too hard to be as successful as Juno. Even the most stoic person would admit the ending is cute' best possible Mr. Burns voice "Smithers, wipe a tear from my eye", but at the end of the day, that's all it really has going. An average, way too slow paced movie with a screenplay that could've been way stronger. Kat Dennings performance (and the rest of the gay band) bring this to a little above average. C Plus
The Bottom Line: If you're looking for a dorky-guy-gets-hot-girl movie that will make you laugh more, I might direct your attention to Sex Drive. If you like the cutesy stuff over the funny stuff, then stick with this movie if you must. Hey, look on the bright side: Do you have a girlfriend who really liked Juno? Go take her to see this, she'll love it and will thank you in her own special way' later. I know, I'm good, you don't have to thank me.
Things have been a tad slow at the box office lately (Read: Beverly Hills Chihuahua is still playing) but we've got a solid line up coming:
Zack & Miri Make a Porno, Role Models, Fanboys, and Quantum of Solace? It's like Christmas is coming early.