Off the start we notice Nick Twisp (A brilliant Michael Cera who does a great performance here); who you realize is a bit more of an intelligent, geeky teen with an affinity for Frank Sinatra music and Fellini movies. However, we all knew what it was like to be different in high school – he’s always the nice guy, which unfortunately, doesn’t seem to get you laid at that age.
Nick’s parents are something a little left to be desired. Nick’s mom, Estelle (played by Jean Smart) is a single mom who jumps from one scummy boyfriend to the next out of fear of being alone and her current toy, Jerry (Zack Galifinakis, always the kinda creepy guy) is scum of the earth. He runs scams, takes money that is not his, etc… While one of his scams goes sideways (he sells a car to a bunch of sailors, and the car is well, junk!) he takes Nick and his mom off for a ‘vacation’ in the country. While there, he meets Sheeni (newcomer Portia Doubleday), the love of his life, which is where the antics start!
When Nick’s family decides to go home, him and Sheeni devise a plan to get Nick kicked out of his house so he has to move in with his Dad, George (Steve Bushemi) who Sheeni will secretly set up a job for in her town so they can be closer. Unfortunately, Nick isn’t that great at being the ‘bad ass’ and becomes his alter ego ‘Francois Dillinger’ (which is a wonderful performance by Cera who is finally using his acting chops), who has the kahoonas to actually get the job done! Francois steals and sets on fire Jerry’s car and trailer, which then in turn roles down a hill and blows up a local store… which does the trick! Nick gets kicked out of his mom’s and sent to his Dad’s to live. Unfortunately, this is when Sheeni gets sent to a French boarding school! So off Nick goes to her school and devises a plan to get her kicked out so she has to return home (she is unaware of this). Oh ya, and I did I mention Sheeni has an ex boyfriend who is trying to catch Nick in the act and get him thrown in jail?
I quite enjoyed this film! With cameos from Justin Long playing Sheeni’s dopey brother, Fred Williard as Nick’s neighbor and Ray Liotta who becomes Estelle’s cop boyfriend after Nick blows up the car, trailer and store. Michael Cera does a fantastic job as ‘Francois’, which was nice for a while to see him play a different character then his awkward self. I also might have to read the books this film is based on as the writing was quite smart and very funny. This is a definite must see, either in theatre or rental…