Before Youth in Revolt became a movie, it was the first book in C.D. Payne’s popular six-novel series, known collectively as The Journals of Nick Twisp. Its partisans likely will find the film disappointing, but the rest of us should have a good time.
Rebel without a clue: Michael Cera plays up his mean streak in Youth in Revolt.
As adapted by Gustin Nash (Charlie Bartlett) and directed by Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck), this Revolt seems at once an old-fashioned picaresque, in which a teenager’s intense summer vacation romance drives him to episodic rascality, and the faddish epitome of perk ’n’ quirk packaging, whose animated interludes and indie-pop soundtrack call to mind the Michael Cera-intensive Paper Heart and Juno.
Cera as Nick Twisp—a cerebral, self-involved, hormone-addled outcast, capable of refined cultural tastes and intense romantic fixations—seems like a casting no-brainer. Technically he’s too old for this part, but it’s easy to give him a pass because he’s him.
Having endured the break-up of his frivolously trashy parents (Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi) and their subsequent, variously abhorrent recouplings (involving Zach Galifianakis, Ari Graynor, Ray Liotta), young Nick feels angsty and sexually bereft. Through an auspicious getaway from his suburban Bay Area home to a backwoods trailer park, he meets an alluringly sphinx-like siren named Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), who shares his pretentious interests and goads his ardor.
“I have decided to create a supplementary persona named Francois Dillinger,” he’s telling us in a voiceover before long. “Bold, contemptuous of authority and irresistible to women.” This havoc-wreaking alter ego, played also by Cera but now in shades and loafers and a pencil mustache, becomes a droll parody of familiar adolescent cynicism.
Cars get stolen and smashed, drugs consumed, genders bent. People get hurt, Justin Long gets baked, Fred Willard gets naked. And Sheeni’s Bible-thumper parents (Mary Kay Place and M. Emmet Walsh) get very offended.
It’s odd and fun watching Cera dip into this peculiar range of voguish deadpan profanity. Galifianakis has paved a way into the territory for us, but his presence can be distancing. Cera, on the other hand, seems like a confidant. How charmingly he delineates his character’s urge to be so worldly and adult-like, even when confronted with overwhelming evidence that most adults are uncivilized schnooks. Of course, it raises the fear that he’ll just keep doing a Michael Cera routine until one day suddenly he has turned undeniably old, and all that nonthreatening asexual innocence somehow has become a horror of bitter schmaltz and lechery.
But not yet. So far we’re OK. Youth in Revolt gives us another angle on Cera’s blithe timidity. It allows him to play the straight man to himself. Maybe the real reason that a filmed version of the book never quite happened before (small-screen tries were made for Fox in 1996 and for MTV in 1998) is that it was waiting for now, and for him.
John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men takes the stage at London’s National Theatre as part of its HD broadcast series. The play is a powerful and raw depiction of struggles during the Great Depression and the heart-wrenching bonds of friendship. James Franco and Chris O’Dowd step out of their
The longest running local community chorus returns for what has become an annual holiday highlight: The Oratorio Society’s Christmas at The Paramount. Celebrate with song as conductor Michael Slon (below) leads a program of classic favorites that soars to its highest point during an audience
Over his 20-year career, singer-songwriter Ellis Paul has released 19 records, received 14 Boston Music awards (along with a slew of other honors and decorations) and played close to 200 shows per year across the globe. With a leading role in the folk revival of the ’90s, Paul is often compared
Sarah White and Siân Richards are back with their annual songbird tradition, The Country Christmas Show. The angel voiced duo welcomes Peyton Tochterman to the tinseled stage for this year’s tribute to the season, as well as long-standing favorite Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees, who always
“One of my paintings is on the cover of American Psychologist this month, and it shows a man looking out over a field and into the mountains. My feeling was he is in harmony with nature, and if you can just be with him, you can feel that same peace and bliss from the painting,” […]
I was 10 years old when I saw Les Misérables on Broadway, and my dislike of the show was immediate and intense. I wasn’t prepared for my total immersion into a world where destitute mothers became prostitutes, innocent men served on chain gangs and girls my age toiled barefoot in the streets.
James Wilson pulls out a copy of the new Sons of Bill record Love and Logic—on vinyl of course. “Do you have a record player? Listen to it straight through, sitting in the dark,” he said. Ha. Right. Good one. Should that be backwards or forwards? James, the Sons’ de facto frontman, is not
When it comes to holiday traditions, some wait with bated breath for annual broadcasts of the 1964 stop motion animation classic, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Others prefer rom-coms with predictably heartwarming plots. However, no December is complete without The Nutcracker. And though I’m
Break away from the repetitive carols and TV reruns by checking out the day-long local lineup at the 13th annual Holiday Spotlight. Get jazzy with Dr. Jeff Vaughan and Greg C. Brown, tap into your Appalachian roots with the Skyline Country Cloggers (below) or spice up your night with the Latin
PVCC’s Visual Arts Department ushers in the longest nights of the year with its illuminating December tradition Let There Be Light. For one night only, curator James Yates and a slew of local artists will show their outdoor exhibit on the grounds surrounding the V. Earl Dickinson Building. The
The debate over Ridley Scott’s decision to cast white gentiles in Ancient Hebrew and Egyptian roles in Exodus: Gods and Kings is worth having, but it might carry a bit more weight if the movie were any good. If the forced 3D and mixed-bag special effects had matched Darren Aronofsky’s Noah,
When you think of storytelling, you might imagine your animated girlfriend gesticulating over Sunday brunch or a kindly grandfather telling the kids to gather ’round. But for Siân Richards and Kara McLane Burke, stories begin in the body. “You just kind of start somewhere and give yourself
What line of work is Jason Burke in? “I’m an insurance man,” he said—without a trace of irony, without a hint of recognition that what he’d just said sounded like a line from a grainy black and white movin’ picture. Burke, in a vast landscape of Charlottesville insurance men, has pulled himself
December begins on a classy note with a program of Schumann, Bach and more that features internationally renowned cellist Steven Isserlis. The concerto soloist and chamber musician is one of only two living cellists in the Gramophone Hall of Fame, and in this sonata-centered performance he is
On an 80-degree October afternoon, it was beginning to sound a lot like Christmas at the Charlottesville Senior Center. “Angels We Have Heard on High” flowed into “O Come All Ye Faithful,” followed by “Jingle Bells” and “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” as the Second Wind Band rehearsed for its
While the holiday season doesn’t necessarily conjure visions of scantily clad women doing the bump ‘n’ grind, Deanna Danger and her crew of vaudevillian and burlesque performers see no harm in weaving some risqué into your merry making. Performer, producer and instructor, Danger
During one of the many minutes-long stretches of Horrible Bosses 2 that pass by without a single chuckle, your mind may start to wander as you realize how strangely and unintentionally meta it is that a movie about self-employment would become a victim of its own success. It’s as though the
First Fridays is a monthly art event featuring exhibit openings at many Downtown art galleries and additional exhibition venues. Several spaces offer receptions. Listings are compiled in collaboration with Piedmont Council for the Arts. To list an exhibit, please send information two
When you view a photography exhibit that focuses exclusively on doors, you can’t help but feel a tinge of desperation to know what on earth is behind them. Artist Daphne Maxwell Reid makes no such offers in her current show at The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. “Everybody
Entering the room, two sounds compete for your attention: the steady hum of sewing machines and a Destiny’s Child song amplified by unseen speakers. It’s Friday at Crescent Halls, a housing facility operated by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and that means that a group