The Week in Film by Robert Mann – Week Starting 30/1/09

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist ****

Over the last few years, two young actors have really seen their have seen their popularity on the rise thanks to roles in rather low key films that have really made a connection with moviegoers. The first is Kat Dennings who last year co-starred in the critical (but not box office) hit ‘Charlie Bartlett’, as well as the surprise success ‘The House Bunny. The other is Michael Cera whose roles in ‘Superbad’ and ‘Juno’ have charmed audiences and seen him emerge as one of the top players in a new generation of comedy stars. ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ brings these two promising stars together for the first time in what promises to deliver quality on the same level as all the aforementioned films.

Nick (Michael Cera) is the extremely sensitive member of band The Jerk Offs. The only straight member of the all gay group, it has been three weeks since he was dumped by his girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena). However, Nick is having difficulty accepting that it’s over with her and has been sending her special song CDs that he has mixed just for her, CDs that she has been throwing away and that have ended up in the hands of Norah (Kat Dennings), a classmate of Tris’, who loves them. Norah is touched by the music that Nick has put together but has never met him, that is, until she and her friend Caroline (Ari Graynor) attend one of his band’s gigs. Norah finds herself attracted to Nick, unaware of who he is. When Tris shows up at the same club, accompanied by her new boyfriend, Norah doesn’t want her to think that she is dateless, so she asks Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend for 5 minutes. What results is a night that neither will ever forget, as Nick’s band-mates try to get an extremely drunk Caroline home in one piece, the heartless Tris decides that she wants Nick back, and Nick and Norah, with their matching taste in music and similar personalities, realize that they are meant for each other.

When compared with other teen comedies, there is nothing particularly different about ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’. As a comedy, it is certainly not to everyone’s taste, with many of the gags being quite crude in their nature and not necessarily that funny (depending on your personal taste). However, while the film doesn’t necessarily deliver in the humour department, the film works because of the developing romance between the two lead characters. And the romance works so well because of the actors. Michael Cera is perfectly cast as the sensitive type and plays the role perfectly, even though it does seem like he may be getting typecast as he has played this type of role in both his previous films. Kat Dennings is also perfectly cast as the smart, intelligent and individual type, delivering an equally great performance. Alone, they both deliver brilliant performances, but it is together that they really deliver. Whenever they are on screen together, there is a perfect harmony that makes it impossible to doubt that their characters are meant for each other. Their chemistry never fails to convince and they make for an extremely charming, endearing and sweet couple. There are other good performances too, notably from Alexis Dziena, who is suitably bitchy and kooky as the fickle, self-absorbed ex-girlfriend. Overall, ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ may not make you laugh till it hurts but the great soundtrack and delightful romance make it a perfect feel good film for these difficult times.

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Review by Robert Mann BA (Hons)



© BRWC 2010.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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