Saturday, October 04, 2008

"Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"

Like a lot of people, I’m always a little unsettled and disheartened by projects like Peter Sollett’s “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” where big studios and massive corporations attempt to co-opt young, hip, indie-scene subjects and not only put them center stage, but actually attempt to market the end result TO them. Here specifically, the big company is Sony, and the subject is East Village-frequenting hipster kids, bursting with ironic detachment and desperate to latch onto the next hip band so they can lay claim to liking them before anyone else. Against all odds, Sollett manages to impeccably nail this scene (if whitewashing it a tad), and the movie is almost interminably adorable and endearing. Despite the presence of Michael Cera and the same colored-pencil opening credit font, this is no “Juno” clone (for one, the dialogue isn’t oh-so-cleverly overwritten), but rather a sweet, simple, frequently very funny young romance taking place over the course of one night, a la “Before Sunrise.” When dumped by his girlfriend, wet-noodle Nick (Cera) – the lone straight guy in a queercore band, The Jerkoffs – joins his bandmates on a bar-hopping night in the Village, desperately attempting to locate their favorite underground band, Where’s Fluffy. Along the way, he meets Norah (Kat Dennings), the daughter of a uber-powerful mogul, who struggles to just be liked for who she is, and the two keep getting sidetracked (by exes, amongst other things), despite the obvious fact that they’re made for each other. From its laidback handling of homosexuality (Nick’s gaymates are neither screaming queens, nor reduced to wacky comic relief) and low-key acknowledgement of Norah’s Judaism, to a somewhat surprising level of insight into the hipster music scene and fairly realistic depictions of drunk-friend-babysitting, “Nick and Norah” refuses to fit into the neat, contrived box that some might be eager to put it in based on the marketing materials. Some reviews have complained that the film doesn’t have much in the way of dramatic momentum or conflict, and they’re right – there are no huge roadblocks or big dramatic moments – but the movie has an effervescent, laid-back likeability that just kept a smile on my face for its short, sweet duration.


Anonymous movie fan said...

there were some awkward moments in this movie that were hard to get past... such as every time that gum was passed around (yuck!)

6:08 PM  

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