If there is one frustrating thing about "Youth in Revolt", it's possibly the fact that it's Michael Cera playing the shy loser on a search to get laid by becoming a badass, which can recall his time alongside Jonah Hill in "Superbad". For those more aware of Cera's career, you may also notice that his character's name is Nick and amongst the many co-stars is Ari Graynor (who last worked together on "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" where surprise surprise, Cera played Nick). What was once fresh and made him likable is now one of the movie's downturns.
That is not to say that it doesn't still occasionally work. Numerous scenes in "Youth in Revolt" manage to work not only because Cera has mastered the character, but because he finally has an alter ego, Francois, who manages to spice the movie up with a faux French flair and an erotic tongue to help out Nick by burning cars and cutting bras. It is a welcomed surprise on Cera's behalf as the egos turn into the consciences that make him a vigilante.
Why does he become this vigilante? Like most teenage sex romps, it's all about a girl. This time, it's Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), who first meets Nick at a camp where his mother (Jean Smart) and her sleazy boyfriend (Zach Galifianakis, getting too little screen time) escape to after a little trouble with some Navy Seals. Sheeni is a very smart woman, obsessed with French culture and upon a trip to the beach tells Nick, "For all you know, my vagina could be moist with excitement". The story progresses from there, choosing to change loser appeal with an amazing amount of rebellion, including a car accident that costs five million dollars in damage, upon which Nick moves up with his father (underused Steve Buscemi) and closer to Sheeni and her overly religious parents as well as her pot smoking brother Paul (the always funny weirdo Justin Long) and his friend Lacey (Ari Graynor). He also befriends a high school classmate, Vijay (Adhir Kalyan), who helps Nick in numerous ways of trying to land Sheeni.
The rest of the movie is very inspired, if just for the amount of individuality each character possesses. The supporting cast especially shines and manages to take Cera's flat moments and buff them up with their own awkward obsessions, including a very solid performance from Fred Willard, who plays Mr. Ferguson, an immigrant smuggler. Long proves to be the best element, even if he has played the same character in the forgetable "Strange Wilderness".
While there is plenty of sex jokes and failed schemes to go around, plenty of the characters become endearing due to their vulnerability. This world of dysfunction is a lot of fun, but at times bogged down by the numerous cliches of Cera's main character. Again, this is frustrating because it's entertaining to watch Cera play a different role, but alongside his type casted uniform? It becomes a hit and miss.So while this is a fun movie, this hopefully is the closing chapters in the one trick pony of Cera's career and hopefully will open doors to other characters, which I desperately hope since I see so much promise in him.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5