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Youth in Revolt

Youth in Revolt

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

MICHAEL Cera goes some way towards dispensing with his clean-cut, wholesome image in the fun teenage rebellion movie Youth in Revolt.

Based on CD Payne’s cult novel, the film follows Cera’s Nick as he falls for hip Francophile Sheeni (Portia Doubleday) while on a reluctant holiday with his mum and her boyfriend in a trailer park in mid-small town America.

Unable to convince her of his ‘nice guy’ suitability on his own merits, Nick creates a bad-boy alter-ego named Francois Dillinger, complete with moustache and cigarettes, to instruct himself on the way to woo and win the lady of his dreams.

But as Francois’ instructions consistently lead Nick astray, much comic mayhem ensues and Nick’s feelings for Sheeni seem destined to go unrequited.

Miguel Arteta’s movie trades well on Cera’s boy-next-door appeal (from movies such as Juno and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist) before stripping it away at every opportunity thanks to his alter-ego’s rebellious ethos.

Cera does well in the dual roles, clearly revelling in the opportunity to tarnish his image, and most of the comic situations he finds himself in succeed in bringing a smile to the face at the very least.

Doubleday makes a suitably appealing object of his affections and shares some nice chemistry with Cera, while a support cast that includes The Hangover‘s Zach Galifianakis, Steve Buscemi and Ray Liotta adds to the hip appeal.

Admittedly, the film sometimes feels like its striving to be too quirky and gain as big a cult appeal as the novel, but it’s consistently inventive and adopts a more risky attitude to its humour than risque (something that makes a refreshing change for the coming-of-age genre).

But Arteta keeps things moving at a fair old pace and shows plenty of imagination (there’s even animated interludes in keeping with the quirky but cool feel), which makes Youth in Revolt an amicable night out at the flicks for any teens who are in touch with their inner rebel.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 89mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: July 12, 2010