Monday, October 18, 2021

Movie review: Youth in Revolt


Release date (wide): Friday, Jan. 8, 2010.

Box office tracking info:

ACTORS: Michael Cera (Nick Twisp and François), Portia Doubleday (Sheeni Saunders), Jean Smart (Estelle Twisp), Zach Galifianakis (Jerry), Steve Buscemi (George Twisp), Fred Willard (Mr. Ferguson), Ray Liotta (Lance Wescott), Justin Long (Paul Saunders), Mary Kay Place (Mrs. Saunders), M. Emmet Walsh (Mr. Saunders) and Jonathan Bradford Wright (Trent).

MPAA Rating: R (drug use, language, sexual content).
Directed by Miguel Arteta
Written by Gustin Nash and adapted from the novel by C. D. Payne
Produced by David Permut
Released by Dimension Films.
Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.


Grades: Overall: B-. Teens: B+. Story: B-.

Nick is a high school student (Michael Cera), a virgin who lives with his mother, Estelle (Jean Smart) and her boyfriend, Jerry (Zach Galifianakis). His father (Steve Buscemi) is unemployed and has taken a much younger girlfriend, Lacey (Ari Graynor).

To escape certain death at the hands of sailors ripped off by Jerry, mom and Nick flee for a vacation to a “cabin” as Jerry calls it. It’s really a run-down trailer in a park. There, he meets Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), the pretty daughter of two religious nut cases, who harbors dreams of going to France and becoming a citizen of the world.

Every character is a copy of a stereotype, and with the exception of Nick and Sheeni, none of them get any development whatsoever. However, Cera’s comedic timing and the fact that Doubleday is kind of ideal in the role of a high school virgin’s crush — leading Nick on just enough to get him interested and then pushing him away with the famous “I have a boyfriend” comment — allow us to excuse (at least to the “B-” level) the script’s lack of creativity.

We have seen too many high school virgins in the movies, and although Nick’s alter ego, a French movie star, sociopathic bad-boy, adds a little spice, the film stops short of anything edgy, presumably in the interest of staying in the “R” rated territory.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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