Youth In Revolt (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner03/02/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Hugely enjoyable, frequently funny comedy with a fantastic script, great characters and a terrific pair of performances from Michael Cera.

What's it all about?
Based on the cult novel by C.D. Payne, Youth in Revolt stars Michael Cera as Bay Area teenager Nick Twisp, who lives with his divorced mother Estelle (Jean Smart) and her slacker boyfriend Jerry (Zach Galifianakis) and dreams of losing his virginity. When he meets the delectable Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) on a trailer park holiday, Nick falls hopelessly in love but geography stands in their way. With the help of bad boy alter ego Francois (also Cera), Nick schemes to simultaneously land his deadbeat dad (Steve Buscemi) a job in Sheeni's neighbourhood and to get his mother angry enough to send him to live with his father.

The Good
Having made his name with the delightfully offbeat and oddly similar Chuck & Buck, Miguel Arteta proves the ideal choice of director for Youth in Revolt, nailing the book's blackly comic, occasionally nihilistic tone and delivering an adaptation that's about as faithful as you could possibly expect a 90 minute film version of a three-volume book to be. The script sadly ditches the diary format of the novel but there are plenty of funny lines and the key set-pieces (Nick accidentally setting fire to Berkeley, a raid on a French boarding school, a faked suicide attempt) are extremely well done.

The Great
Cera is terrific as Nick, lacing his usual screen persona with a subtle dark streak which he then allows to run riot as Francois – the scenes where Cera-as-Francois urges on Cera-as-Nick are superbly directed and very funny. There's also strong support from newcomers Portia Doubleday and Adhir Kalyan (as Nick's friend Vijay), as well as reliable comic turns from Buscemi, Smart, Ray Liotta (as Estelle's cop boyfriend Lance) and Fred Willard (as Nick's kindly neighbour Mr Ferguson).

Worth seeing?
Youth in Revolt is a delightfully dark teen comedy with a frequently funny script and superb performances from a terrific cast. Highly recommended then, but not quite as highly recommended as the book, which is utterly brilliant. Is a sequel too much to ask for?

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Youth In Revolt (15)
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Content updated: 21/03/2019 13:26

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