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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Youth in Revolt
Youth in Revolt Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 05 February 2010 16:33
Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi, Zach Galifianakis
Certificate: 15 

"I want to wrap your legs around my head and wear you like the crown that you are." Hang on a minute, did Michael Cera just say that? All-round likeable, soft-spoken dweeb? That's not the Michael Cera we know. That's more like some kind of rebellious French alter-ego. And it is.

You see, Nick Twisp (Cera) is a bit of a loser. He likes Frank Sinatra. And he's a virgin. Too bad Sheeni (Doubleday), the love of his life, doesn't find that attractive. She goes for bad boys. French boys. Boys who set fire to things and smoke cigarettes. So Nick dreams up his double, Francois Dillinger. Who torches half of Denver with a caravan.

Up-scaling his disastrous acts of rebellion, Nick sets out to win Sheeni's heart. All he has to do is upset his mum (Smart) enough to get kicked out by her and her fat slob boyfriend (Galifianakis) and shipped off to live with his dad (Buscemi). Then he'll be with Sheeni forever and ever.

It's a quaint and quirky tale of one man's persona and how he can change it. And that's perfect for Michael Cera, the BAFTA-nominated rising star whose persona is pretty much fixed for life. Once again, he plays the nice boy next door with a gentle larynx and conservative fashion sense. But the brilliance of Youth in Revolt is its split-personality device; Cera as a nice guy geek is getting old. Cera swearing and wearing a moustache? That's really funny. Especially with his deadpan delivery.

The supporting cast, too, are all decent - Buscemi and Galifianakis are solid laugh generators, with Portia Doubleday's desirable girlfriend as easy on the eye as she is the funny bone. It's a generally well written piece, with a balance that will suit both adults and teens.

The only misstep is going for the overly quirky, self-aware animated segment that cheapens the whole affair. That aside, this is a strong vehicle for Michael Cera. One that proves not just that he can do something different, but that he needs to. If not he'll be stuck in Juno-land forever.


Smart and funny, Youth in Revolt isn't afraid to buck the conventions of a rom-com script. It's just a shame that it took this long for Cera to find his dark side.


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