“Youth in Revolt” is a film based on the epistolary novel “Youth in Revolt: The Journals of Nick Twisp” by C.D Payne. Directed by Miguel Arteta, it tells the story of Nick (Michael Cera), an awkward 16 year-old virgin, on the hunt for the girl of his dreams. Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) is that girl. She’s beautiful, free spirited and loves the feel of vinyl. Geography however is keeping them apart.
Nick hatches a plan to do something bad, in order to stay with his father and win Sheeni over. The rebellious alter ego of Francois Dillinger is born. After setting fire to half of his home town, his mother sends him away, where he tells Sheeni everything he did to be near her. Sadly, Sheeni is sent away to a French-speaking boarding school after her parents discover this dangerous relationship.
The inevitable sneaking around ensues, with interesting consequences, which makes for a great story line. The script really is a highlight of Youth in Revolt. One liners as well as the visual comedy of the ‘mushroom scene’ help to make this indie film funny. The use of animation to break up the film was an interesting move by the director, which worked really well to keep your attention.
Twisp is fantastically portrayed by Michael Cera, who seems to have been stuck with the awkward teen role from previous films (Year One, Juno and Superbad), but manages to pull it off thanks to Nick’s suave alter-ego Francois. The swapping between Nick and Francois did get a little confusing at times, but the sharp look of Francois was easy enough to recognise.
Appearances from the more adult cast of Jean Smart, Zach Galifianakis and Ray Liotta help to give the film a little more substance for the critics, but the performances from Cera and Doubleday are more than good enough to stand on their own.
A must see for fans of indie comedy, Youth in Revolt sees Michael Cera back on top form after the questionable success of “Year One”.