Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

by Alan Rapp on October 3, 2008

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • IMDB: link

“Where’s Fluffy?”

The film is about Nick (Michael Cera), the only straight guy in an all gay band who was recently dumped by his longtime girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena), and Norah (Kat Dennings), a straight-edge alternative girl with a good taste in music and a a bad taste in guys(Jay Baruchel), a dislike for Tris and a crush on her unknown former boyfriend.

Through circumstances you will only find in movies like this Nick and Norah pretend to be boyfriend/girlfriend in an attempt to keep Tris of their backs for five seconds.  A quick kiss, for Tris’ benefit, immediately shows sparks between the two, who spend the night together and apart all over the city.

Although a bit contrived the set-up here works well enough to get these two young actors together on the streets of Manhattan.  The possibility of a teen Before Sunrise (read that review) is lost however as the love story is constantly derailed by the script.

Rather than focusing on the two getting together, learning about each other, or searching for the secret performance of their favorite band, the story keeps getting off-track.

The pair are forced to find Norah’s best friend (Ari Graynor) who gets drunk and lost on the streets of New York, fight about unimportant issues, get separated and spend time with their ex’s, and all manner of other obstacles meant to keep them interested in each other but apart for most of the film’s running time.  By the time they get together (hope I’m not ruining anything for you, but really what other ending is there for this type of flick?) we no longer care.

Although Cera and Dennings are good on screen together, Nick and Nora are not.  Had the film taken are more natural approach (something like Say Anything…, read that review) rather than antics and absurd contrivances than there might have been something here.  Sadly, there’s not.

I’m also a bit tired of the “cool but not popular teen comedy.”  Nick and Norah are presented as just geeky and different enough to not be cool, yet their differences show them to be the actual cool ones.  Rather than focusing on making the characters cool yet not-cool how about making them real or, you know, interesting?  Just a suggestion.

There are moments in this film between the gross humor of Caroline’s misadventures, the gay jokes, the painful scenes involving former significant others, and the absurdity of the entire adventure, but they are few and far between.  The core love story, which should be the center of the film, is lost for large stretches at a time to zaniness which isn’t all that zany, or fun to watch.

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