Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A new song for Nick And Norah

Sony Pictures' Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a comedy about two people thrust together for one hilarious, sleepless night of adventure in a world of mix tapes, late-night living, and, live, loud music. Nick (Michael Cera) frequents New York's indie rock scene nursing a broken heart and a vague ability to play the bass. Norah (Kat Dennings) is questioning pretty much all of her assumptions about the world. Though they have nothing in common except for their taste in music, their chance encounter leads to an all-night quest to find a legendary band's secret show and ends up becoming the first date in a romance that could change both their lives.

Nick, a high school student, is the lovelorn bass player for an electo-punk band whose other members are all gay. He is in no mood to perform at the group's gig this evening, as he has been dumped by Tris (Alexis Dziena), a horrid Mean Girl who shouldn't have been dating a sensitive soul like Nick to begin with. The dumping actually took place weeks ago, but Nick is still reeling, particularly in the sense of "reeling" that means "making mix CDs urging Tris to reconsider." Those mix CDs, unbeknownst to him, have earned him the admiration of Norah (Kat Dennings), a semi-friend of Tris' who appreciates Nick's ultra-hip musical tastes far better than the plastic Tris does. Norah and Nick wind up meeting at Nick's show (held at the type of sweaty, second-tier venue familiar to indie-rock fans), and though he is still brooding over Tris, he and Norah find plenty of common ground when it comes to music. And best of all: underground sensations Where's Fluffy? are performing a secret show somewhere in the five boroughs tonight, and Nick and Norah simply MUST find out where. But first a more pressing concern requires their attention: Norah's slutty blonde friend Caroline (Ary Graynor, very funny) is drunk beyond her ability to function and needs to be driven home. Nick's bandmates (Aaron Yoo and Rafi Gavron), eager to see Nick get over the wretched Tris, agree to give Caroline a lift in their van so that Nick and Norah can be alone in Nick's Yugo. Complications arise: Caroline wanders off; Tris is still lurking in the periphery (now jealous, of course, that her ex is with someone else), and the Where's Fluffy? show is starting to look like a wild goose chase. The film is effortlessly funny, sweet, and real in a way that few teen comedies are. It's one of those films where everything takes place over the course of one magical night in New York (a city where, if the movies are to be believed, such magical nights are commonplace). Michael Cera has emerged as the prince of awkwardness, a dorky, non-threatening hero of unrequited teen love. The day may come when audiences grow tired of seeing Cera play this type of kid -- this wry, worried, deadpan teenager who pines for a girl -- but that day has not yet arrived. Cera is consistently funny in his usual fashion, and Kat Dennings a terrific partner, both romantically and comedically. I'm not surprised that the film captures young love in the big city as well as it does. As dawn approaches, the movie -- which has been energetically witty, even madcap, up to this point -- grows quiet and tender, winding down naturally, the way an exciting and exhausting night always does. It's a nice, smooth finale for a very satisfying movie. A Love filled 4 on my "Go See" scale.

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