Developing an alter ego can lead to many benefits. An alias to go under if you’ve just committed a crime, creating a fictional character that may lead to a higher self confidence or pretending to be someone cool in order to impress a girl. Nick Twisp’s reasons and benefits are a little of all of those. Especially the impressing the girl part. Youth in Revolt delves into a place in a teenagers being that we all at one time or another have either considered or actually done.
Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is your pretty basic teen. Keeps to himself, not many friends, is an aspiring novelist who has an appreciation for classics such Frank Sinatra and old poetry and has never been with a girl. He lives with his mother who is divorced from his father and co-habitats with her less than likable boyfriend. He has come to the depressing conclusion that his life is terrible and that he will certainly die a virgin.
During a “family” trip to a trailer park he meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), a girl who eventually captures his heart and becomes his reason for living. Unfortunately this is short-lived when he has to return home. Refusing to accept that he and his love will have to be separated, he decides to try to get himself in trouble and thrown out of his mother’s house so he can leave and reunite with Sheeni. Not exactly the rule breaking-type, he develops an alter-ego named Francois Dillinger who assists him in becoming bad so he can achieve his goal.
I have to admit that the idea for this story was a little appealing to me, especially since Michael Cera has always played the nice, little boy next door role. Somewhat looking forward to seeing if he could pull off a bad boy routine caught my attention. While funny at some points, I must sadly report that it wasn’t very entertaining. Though his reworked persona was different than the main character, you can still see Cera being Cera, for lack of a better description. Dillinger’s character had his moments of “pay attention to me, I’m being bad” but it wasn’t completely believable.
Some portions of the story became slow towards the middle and you find yourself looking forward to the end. Other portions, such as scenes with Justin Long who played Sheeni’s older brother, Paul, were pretty entertaining due to the comedy involved.
It seemed as if the two main teenage characters, Nick and Sheeni, were the most intelligent out of everyone. In addition to both liking vinyl recordings and vintage novels, they contained an above average vocabulary which might fit nicely in an episode of Dawson’s Creek. While nice to hear children speaking with such maturity, it kind of takes away from the realness of their characters. I do not know many teenagers who speak like that.
Based on the six-part novel series written by C.D. Payne, this film might have enough to generate a small cult following but nothing of a giant stature. I give Youth in Revolt “2.5 rebellious alter-persona’s out of 5”.
“I’m gonna wrap your legs around my head and where you like the crown that you are… If that’s OK with you”.