In my last review, I implied that I’d grown tired of “so-called quirky romance movies” – movies with skinny, shy, awkward protagonists who inexplicably find their soulmates.
But the truth is, while they can be formulaic, I don’t automatically write off movies like “Juno,” “Adventureland” and “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.” I like all of those films.
And while “Youth in Revolt” follows the formula to a T, it’s highly entertaining.
First, Michael Cera plays the leading role.
If you know anything about Michael Cera, you have a good sense of what’s going to happen.
Nick Twisp (Cera) lives with his hands-off mother Estelle (Jean Smart) and her truck driver boyfriend, Jerry (Zach Galifianakis).
Whether Nick’s extremely awkward personality is because of their bad parenting, we don’t really know.
But Nick really shows off his lack of social skills when he meets a girl – the mysteriously different, pretty-but-not-hot Sheeny. Shocker.
Before hiking with Sheeny, Nick proclaims, “It’s fine I do all of my hiking free form. I enter the wilderness with nothing more than a childlike sense of wonder.”
He’s a weird dude.
But despite his social ineptitude, the two bond over obscure films (Yasujiro Ozu’s lauded “Tokyo Story,” for example), LPs and French culture.
Unfortunately for Nick, a whole set of obstacles gets in the way of their relationship – she has a boyfriend, the two live far apart, she gets sent to a boarding school and the list goes on.
So that’s where Francois comes in. Francois is Nick’s French on-screen alter ego, which he conjures up in order to save his tenuous romantic relationship with Sheeny.
Nick describes Francois as “bold, contemptuous of authority and irresistible to women.”
While it’s not completely explained, the audience sees Francois in the same frame as Nick, as he whispers commands into his ear, but both are played by Michael Cera. The other characters are oblivious – Nick just seems a lot more confident.
This French aviator-wearing, mustache-clad, overly aggressive ass—- is the film’s saving grace.
The outrageousness of Francois, coupled and contrasted with the droll humor of Nick’s awkwardness, makes “Revolt” really funny and entertaining.
Scenes full of epic-badassery, while a bit immature and over the top, are just plain fun.
Francois kicks off his antics by running Jerry’s trailer into a cafe, followed by his white Cadillac. He tops it off by nonchalantly throwing his cigarette into a gas can, which causes both cars to explode.
His dialogue is also a little immature but playfully fun.
Nick asks Sheeny if she wants to cuddle, but Francois interrupts and says, “I’m gonna wrap your legs around my head and wear you like the crown you are.”
It’s crude and immature, but it’s funny.
Without the absurdly bold and vulgar humor, “Revolt” is just another quirky romance movie with Michael Cera.
But, luckily, Francois adds just enough excitement to save the film from mediocrity.