Sunday, September 07, 2008

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Peter Sollett, 2008)

This hipper-than-thou romantic comedy tries to create a modern-day romp in the spirit of John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles, but ends up being more comparable to forgettable fare such as 1988’s License to Drive. It comes as a particularly disappointing second feature for director Peter Sollett, whose debut Raising Victor Vargas embraced the lumpiness of family and community. Here, the focus is placed on a group of self-absorbed teens who pride themselves on their trendiness. The plot, which involves two of these kids (Kat Dennings and Michael Cera) getting out of inexplicable relationships and into each others’ pants, is an overextended meet-cute that gives the audience little reason to become invested.

Set entirely over the course of one wild night, the film presents New York City as a carefree urban playground for bridge and tunnel brats. For all of the rampant binge drinking and casual sex on display, though, the feeling here is less like a cautionary Larry Clark film than a live action feature from Disney. Interesting mostly in the way that it seems to place its high school-aged cast in a social sphere that eschews labels such as “jock”, “geek”, or even “popular” (begging the question of whether it is this film or the recent documentary American Teen that’s hopelessly out of touch), this is both unfunny and endowed with surprisingly little heart.

Rating: 36/100

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