Ever since Juno came out and made a huge financial and Oscar splash, there has been an avalanche of quirky romantic comedies that have been greenlit from studios that feature new indie directors that can bring their artistic sense to the visuals that reflect the love between the cute, awkward boy and the overly confident girl who both talk like intellectual and cultural elitists that are on a level that is way above their age. Some of those have been GREAT (ie: (500) Days of Summer) and some have been AWFUL (ie: Bart Got a Room). Luckily for us Youth in Revolt is on the great side! Michael Cera is here again starring as...well...Michael Cera. His schtick of playing the same role in every movie he's ever done kind of stops here. In this film, which is based on the cult book of the same title, he plays two parts; one is an awkward, love-struck, shy guy named Nick Twisp and the other is a smooth, rebellious, rock star named Francois Dillinger. To avoid confusion here you have to understand that he doesn't play two characters, he plays two personalities of the same character; think Fight Club if Fight Club was a comedy about being in love. The alter ego of Nick is the most acting we've seen from Cera in anything and not just because he has blue eyes, a pencil-thin mustache and 5 o'clock shadow...or at least as much as Cera can naturally grow. This made me pleased to see and gave me hope that Cera will have a longer shelf life if he continues this instead of his one-trick-pony routine. Cera is also just the lead of the VERY impressive comedic cast that consists of Ray Liotta (Observe and Report), Fred Willard (Best in Show), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Steve Buscemi and more. One of the greatest finds from this movie though is actress Portia Doubleday, who plays the lead love interest in this. Despite having almost no acting credits to her name, she does a fantastic job at being sexy, strong, tender and funny. Another treasure to come from Youth in Revolt is director Miguel Arteta! This guy came mostly from directing TV shows like The Office and Ugly Betty but seems to have finally gotten a chance to flex his talent on this project. He allows for some really genius moments to be even funnier than I'm sure it was on paper by infusing animation, CGI, claymation, ultra slow motion shots and a quirky, dated soundtrack to not only execute the tone of the film, but also capture what it feels like to be a teenager in love. It's impressive to me that Youth in Revolt did that AND made me laugh hard enough to set the bar for the rest of the comedies this year very, very high.
Youth in Revolt (Rated R)Gavin Grade: A