Without A Net | Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Youth In Revolt

I saw Youth In Revolt at the cheap theater last night. It's not a great film, but it's still an interesting one.

It's based on the 1993 novel by C.D. Payne and stars Michael Cera as the lead character and narrator Nick Twisp, with newcomer Portia Doubleday as his object of desire, Sheeni Saunders. Nick deals with a mother who lives off her child support payments and her boyfriend who Nick hates.

He meets Sheeni Saunders while on vacation and concocts an elaborate scheme to be back with her once that vacation ends, leading Nick to create what he terms "a supplemental persona" named Francois to bring out his bad boy side. Nick (and Francois) end up making a slew of bad choices that keeps the film tense and moving.

The supporting cast is excellent, with Steve Buscemi and Jean Smart as Nick's parents, along with Ray Liotta, Justin Long, Fred Willard, and Zach Galifianakis (or "the guy from the Hangover," as the trailers put it). It's a black comedy with most characters straining their likeability at one point or another.

It's a movie that is at times in your face, with sexual material from the opening scene that led to a couple at the movies with small children walking out moments after the movie started, as well as several scenes involving characters taking hallucinogenic mushrooms, animated sex scenes and more.

The characters often speak in the overly intellectualized style of teenage TV dramas. It's a movie that's often just as much about what Nick feels about what's happening as the actual events, as Nick narrates his tale of heartache.

The film gets a mild recommendation, if for nothing else than the imaginative animated and fantasy sequences. It's a film whose reach may exceed its grasp, but it's still an enjoyable experience.