“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”

MOVIE REVIEW: “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” stars Michael Cera (Superbad, Juno), Kat Dennings (Thor [2011], The 40-Year-Old Virgin), Aaron Yoo (Disturbia, Gamer), Rafi Gavron (A Star is Born [2018], Godfather of Harlem [TV series]), Ari Graynor (The Disaster Artist, What’s Your Number?), Alexis Dziena (When in Rome, Fool’s Gold), Zachary Booth (The Beaver, Syrup), and Jay Baruchel (How to Train Your Dragon, This Is the End). It is directed by Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas, Freeheld), with the screenplay being written by Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler, Hustlers).

High schoolers Nick (Cera) and Norah (Dennings) spark an unexpected romance when a wild, chaotic night in the city forces them to be together and move past their former, troublesome relationships.

What an interesting feature to kick off our March (at least at the time of watching this). Truth be told, it was fairly late into the night, and I wanted a quick and light movie to see. Scrolling through HBO Max, I caught sight of “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and thought “huh, this should be charming.” Well… charming isn’t the word I’d use for this one.

The early 2000’s was a time of teen exploration in film. Particularly, the wild, unrated side of things. “Superbad” paved the way for wannabe projects that prided themselves in being edgy stories of teens to show them as they truly are. “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” does just that, though the downside of it all to this reviewer is… I don’t really relate.

I may have mentioned this in my analysis on “Superbad,” but my high school experience wasn’t filled with the outrageous “parents aren’t home” house parties, or club scene. I’m sure that’s out there, but these stories that seek to capture that essence and pride it around already set themselves at a disadvantage. Not just because I don’t care for the content it provides, but that is gets old. The characters in “Nick and Norah” are fairly run-of-the-mill for the modern audience. Everyone is pretty much a caricature, with the performances being heightened to a point of almost annoyance. I didn’t really care for the side characters, as all of them were ramped up to garner laughs, but came off obnoxious more so. It’s one thing to show the reality of the party life, but it’s another when your jokes hinge on stereotypes that don’t even try to be smart. What made “Superbad” funny (and I apologize for referencing this title as much as I have; I guess it’s because they both have Michael Cera) is how the jokes were planted in a theme with heart, and characters who were losers trying to fit in. With this adventure, we get two lost souls who can’t seem to fit in until they realize they are meant for each other… if only it based its humor in their strangeness to the world, than the loud, idiotic world around them.

I don’t want to put this film on blast out of the gate (even though I sort of have). To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be as harsh before I started typing. When I saw this movie, I was more so bored than anything. It’s not my cup of tea to watch people get drunk, be loud, and stamp that as comedy. There were a few memorable, humorous moments, but quite a bit of those were found in Saturday Night Live cameos (Andy Samberg’s being the best, Seth Meyers being the most surprising). All I had to rely on was the story shared between Nick and Norah, and while they have a quirky dynamic, I don’t think it was enough to save this film.

Michael Cera and Kat Dennings put on a good show. I enjoyed their performances, even if they were playing off-shoots of what they normally play (what can yah do with Cera?). Their story is pretty predictable, with only a few sparse moments to twist/mix things up; some of it is alright, others not so much (Norah’s ex-boyfriend was such a strange introduction that I was not a fan of). As their night progresses, I found my mind wavering and hoping I could get better connected with this tale. Sure, it has some nice parts, but those mainly lied in the heart-to-hearts that Nick and Norah would have. Their chemistry as outcasts sell this film well; I just wish that the story molded itself better to that angle. As well as the aspect of music, because if you have “Infinite Playlist” in your movie’s title, I’d hope music to be a huge factor (or at least, a bigger portion than what the final result was with this).

I didn’t know what to expect going into this one. I remember seeing the poster every now and then for the last ten years and wondering what it was about. Now that I know, I’m glad I didn’t pine for it. “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” isn’t awful. It simply disappears in the crowd of many other 2000’s teen raunch-coms like it. Cera and Dennings do their best, and there’s good moments to show for it, but it’s not much. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for something light and funny with a good heart to it, look elsewhere. FINAL SCORE: 62%= Burnt Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

One response to ““Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”

  1. Pingback: March Movie Rankings | Juicy Reviews·

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