Monday, January 11, 2010

This act is getting a bit old

"Youth in Revolt"
2 Stars

By Joe Maniscalco

“Nick Twisp” is a familiar character.

Actor Michael Cera has played him – or a subtle variation of him – in practically every movie he’s ever appeared in.

Shy, descent and earnest, he’s the smart kid who nevertheless always seems to lose the girl to the high school jock or the bad-boy in the leather motorcycle jacket.

In Miguel Arteta’s “Youth in Revolt,” however, Cera’s literary-minded “Nick Twisp” becomes the rebel. Conjuring up the persona of “Francois Dillinger” to win the heart of his one true love, Twisp slowly morphs into the character he thinks he needs to be - all with truly disastrous results.

Before it’s all over, the straight-arrow dreamer has not only lost the girl, but become a fugitive arsonist with the entire town’s police force on his trail.

Unfortunately, “Youth in Revolt’s” comic tone rings flat throughout the proceeding while Twisp’s bibliophile bleating quickly becomes more annoying than endearing.

This is not Juno.

Even Cera’s uncharacteristic turn as the rakish “Francois Dillinger” only manages to be mildly amusing rather than laugh-out -loud funny.

Heavyweight stars keep popping up in inexplicable bit parts as well. There’s Ray Liotta as one of the ex-Mrs. Twisp’s boyfriends and Steve Buscemi as Twisp’s inconsequential dad.

Justin Long, Zack Galifianakis and Fred Willard also breeze through a few frames.

Michael Cera fans might enjoy the duel roles, but “Youth in Revolt” never really seems to get going until the final third of the movie. Also, Cera is supposed to be 16 in the flick. Pushing 22 in real life, the actor is getting a little long in the tooth to be playing the teenage dweeb.

“Youth In Revolt” demonstrates some signs of maturity from Cera, but it’s just barely enough to get the two-star rating.

Youth In Revolt.” Starring Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday and Jean Smart. Runtime, 90 minutes. Rated R.

Playing in Brooklyn at the UA Sheepshead Bay 14.


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