Reviews: Youth In Revolt (Blu-ray)

When I saw the trailer for Youth In Revolt I wondered if we were about to see Michael Cera play against type. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be – luckily, he plays the uncomfortable, awkward and slightly geeky guy very, very well. Youth In Revolt (based on the acclaimed best seller by C.D Payne) centres around Nick Twisp (Michael Cera – Juno, Arrested Development), a teenager who delights in Frank Sinatra and the films of Federico Fellini. He leads a dull and miserable life, until, while on holiday with his mother and her latest boyfriend (Zach Galifianakis – The Hangover, Tim and Eric) he encounters Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday, in her first leading role) and falls hopelessly for her. In order to win her heart (and get sent packing back to the trailer park where Sheeni lives) he must abandon his predictable nature and “be bad”. To do this he creates Francois, a rebellious, chain smoking, moustache-sporting alter ego. Francois leads Nick on a road of destruction and mayhem, all in aid of his wooing Sheeni. But is it all for nothing?

The language used in this movie by teenagers Sheeni and Nick is very mature and articulate which, at first, was slightly annoying but soon grew to feel natural and added to their characters, ultimately contributing to the generally ‘indie’ feel of the film. I did sometimes find Sheeni a little irritating. The deadpan, show-no-emotion attitude that is becoming a trend with female characters of late became slightly unbelievable. I found myself questioning – for the majority of the movie – if she even genuinely liked Nick. Was she suddenly going to come out with “Sorry, but I don’t actually have feelings for you. Because I don’t actually have any feelings at all”? I don’t know whether this was the way the character of Sheeni was written (as I mentioned, it is becoming common – especially in films of the indie/arthouse genre) or if it was the way Sheeni was played by Portia Doubleday. Either way, it was what I liked least about this film.

Michael Cera was excellent as the intelligent and unique lead. He has a remarkable ability to make you pity him yet find him simply adorable all at once. Bravo! (I think). I particularly enjoyed seeing him play the bad-ass Francois, though his awkward smoking was at times humorous but at other times frustrating. The only reason he is able to pull off Francois, however, is because we, as an audience, know it is an alter ego of his dominant character who is, as previously stated, an awkward and inwardly horny intellectual (familiar territory for Cera). Could he play Francois convincingly as a standalone character? I doubt it. But that wasn’t what what was required of him, and he did a great job.

The extras include a commentary by Michael Cera and Miguel Arteta, extended versions of the film’s opening and ending, deleted scenes and cast auditions. Youth In Revolt is a very sweet and quaint teenage love story, and if you’re a Michael Cera fan I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.


review by Rosie Vernel

One Response to “Reviews: Youth In Revolt (Blu-ray)”
  1. Bethany Zorn says:

    I completely agree! Portia Doubleday’s portrayal of Sheeni taken with the stock-standard plot of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back-again, made this movie slightly less than expected. What made it for me was Miguel Arteta’s direction and Michael Cera’s brilliant acting.

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