Youth Is Revolting

01/06/2010 7:50 AM |

Youth in Revolt

Directed by Miguel Arteta

According to the movies, to be a young white male in the 21st century is to be a pussy. Weenies dithered through the last decade’s films, from the diffident mumblers of Mutual Appreciation to the excruciatingly sensitive manboy of Garden State. But the very funny Youth in Revolt, a peripatetic nightmare of frustrated coitus a la Superbad, relentlessly mocks that wimpy and insufferable hipster-delicate type. Adapted by Gustin Nash from C.D. Payne’s Portnoy-for-kids, the movie follows Nick Twisp (Michael Cera), a mild-mannered teen with developed tastes—his room is littered with Sinatra’s Capitol output… on vinyl—and a rabid, adolescent sex-obsession (the movie opens with Nick masturbating). Too timid, he constructs Francois Dillinger (Cera again), a “supplementary persona,” a mustachioed Mr. Hyde, a Tyler Durden in white pants and Hunter Thompson shades, to encourage him to be as badass as he needs to be to win and keep the girl of his dreams, Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), a babe who knows her Mizoguchi from her Ozu. When Nick, candy-assed pantywaist, politely accepts Sheeni’s sexual demurrals and tucks into a sleeping bag on the floor—as Zach Braff surely would—Francois objects, and supplies the suave, seductive confidence needed to win a place in her bed. (“I want to tickle your belly button. From the inside.”) Cera’s post-Arrested Development career has been marked by copious shit. But here his colossal comic talents—as both sweetly awkward straight man and understated asshole—have finally found a(nother) vehicle worthy of them.

Opens January 8