Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not Quite Infinite

First off, I'm not exactly sure why the movie is called Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist. I suppose it's meant to have some sort of cute, romantic meaning although at first I suspected it came from some studio head who said to some lackey, "The kids these days, they like all this playlist crapola, right?" However, it turns out to be based on a novel with the same name so we're back to the "cute, romantic meaning" idea.

Anyway, the movie is about a group of New Jersey high school students played by 20 year old Michael Cera, 22 year old Kat Dennings, 24 year old Alexis Dziena* and 25 year old Ari Graynor. Cera is still very baby-faced and can still pull off playing a high school student. Dennings kind of can but the other 2, no way. That goes for everyone else in the cast too. Ari Graynor especially distracted me since Judi Dench looks more like a high school student than she does.

Anyway, Nick (Cera) is depressed over the fact that he was recently dumped by his girlfriend, Tris (Dziena), on his birthday. To try to win her back, he leaves a countless number of pathetic, whiny messages on her voicemail as well as making her several mix CDs. Somehow, this strategy fails to work although the CDs do gain the attention of Norah who absolutely loves this guy's taste in music. Norah and Tris don't get along because, if they did, the movie would be robbed of an important plot device. Really, that's about it. Norah is a vaguely socially awkward tomboy while Tris is a slutty bitchy mean girl queen bee type which sort of gives a reason for their dislike of each other, but their mutual antagonism is never really explained. They hate each other and that's that.

Norah first sees Nick at a New York nightclub where he's playing with his band. Michael Cera has made a career out of playing a nerd who manages to get hot girls to want to have sex with him but, for once, it makes perfect sense. If you're in a band, girls who normally would never give you the time of day will enter into Thunderdome-style death matches for the privilege of sucking your cock. Tris just happens to be at the same club and Norah doesn't want to admit she came there alone so she walks up to Nick and shoves her tongue into his mouth. After this, she discovers that, in a city of 10 million people, the guy she randomly chose to kiss happens to be the ex boyfriend of her rival. Because Tris is a jealous bitch, the fact that she thinks Nick and Norah are now together makes her want Nick back. Another impediment in the budding relationship between Nick and Norah, since in New York City you're bound to run into everyone you know, occurs when they run into Norah's ex boyfriend, a douchebag named Tal. I call him a douchebag because there's nothing about him that doesn't reek of douchebaggery including his wardrobe. Looking at that picture, you know that if you ever met him you'd pass out from the smell of Axe Body Spray.

So, there you go. You can probably predict where the movie goes from there. There are some sideplots about Nick's band and a search for Norah's drunk friend but that's basically stuff to throw in between the "How will Nick and Norah get past the obstacles keeping them apart?" storyline. One of the main obstacles is that they live in one of these Bizarro movie worlds where a beautiful girl like Kat Dennings in considered to be plain and no match for Alexis Dziena.

This movie comes so close to being really good but just can't quite overcome the fact that it's not as clever as the filmmakers think it is. This is one of those movies where 17 and 18 year olds have the sensibilities and worldview of 30 year old standup comedians. It gets a little better toward the end when Nick and Norah spend some time alone in a recording studio owned by her father. A lot of the jokes told in those scenes are actually funny and the sweet, tender scenes are actually sweet and tender but it's really too little, too late at that point.

I don't use a rating system but, if I did, I give it 1000 stars. That, of course, would be 1000 out of an infinite number of stars, which isn't very good.

*Honestly, I hope I never meet this actress as I would have no idea how to pronounce her name. Is the "D" silent? The "Z"? Is it pronounced like "CHA" sound? If I said it wrong, her show business ego may cause her to stab me in the throat.

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