Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is an infinitely cool romantic comedy for the infinitely young and hip.
If a John Hughes teen flick comingled with some sick alternative rock band, the product would be Nick and Norah. First, there's Nick (Michael Cera), a nerdy musician who just got his heart stomped on by his now ex-girlfriend, Tris (Alexis Dziena). Then there's Norah (Kat Dennings), a nerdy prep school coed who is questioning pretty much all of her assumptions about the world. These two have just GOT to get together--and together they do. Through a chance encounter in the Big Apple, which leads them on an all-night quest to find a legendary band's secret show, Nick and Norah discover they might share more than just a love for the same infinite playlist. There are few mishaps, but mostly it's the joy of watching these two quirky kids fall for each other over what turns out to be one of hell of a first date.
After impressing us with his first outing in TV's Arrested Development, Cera is running the risk of being typecast as the sweet and lovable nerd with Juno, Superbad--and now Nick and Norah. Mind you, we aren't quite getting tired of the character, but Cera may want to move on. Dennings, whose high-strung snarkiness was best played as the teenage daughter in 40 Year-Old Virgin, gels well with Cera's superb subtleness, making their pairing infinitely watchable (OK, I'll stop using that word). And truthfully, they share one of the more intimate and refreshingly unique love scenes seen in a long time. Kudos also go out to the side players, including up-and-comer Ari Graynor as Norah's party-girl best friend--who proceeds to find herself in all kinds of predicaments--as well as the gay boys (Aaron Yoo and Ravi Gafron) in Nick's band, the Jerk Offs. Good stuff.
The fact you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a teen comedy these days, how do you capture something fresh and new? It isn't easy, but newbie director Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas) and first-time screenwriter Lorene Scafaria seem to have hit the right note with Nick and Norah. By combining a young cast on the rise and really cool alternative music, the film speaks to its own generation succinctly. And at the same time, it provides genuine entertainment for someone who might not have a Facebook profile or iPhone yet with its classic It Happened One Night rom-com setup. Fun had by all!
Hollywood.com rated this film 3 1/2 stars.