DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - DVD Review


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</script></div>{/googleAds}With a plot just as well suited to a title like, Dude, Where's My So-Called Best-est High School Friend or One Infinite Night With Minor Strangers, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is a high-school coming-of-age story—starring under 25'ers, written and directed by under 35'ers—intended to "reveal" obvious quirks and foolish quips about contemporary teenage life. Taking place over the course of one circuitous late night around Manhattan, plotting is as thin as its anorexic titular male lead (Michael Cera) and lightweight as Nick's lightheaded ex-girlfriend—antagonist—Tris (Alexis Dziena). When movie audiences face prospects of giving thanks for the delivery of the likes of a Nick and Norah (Kat Dennings) romantic pairing, then we know we're in the vast presence of ordinary kid stuff.

If twenty-something Ellen Page has quickly cornered the youth movie market on the irreverent, sarcastic know-it-all, cohort Michael Cera has acquired an equal dominance on Mr. Straight-Edge man-child. Superbad (2007), Juno (2007) (where Page and Cera worked together) and Nick and Norah (2008) confirm two unequivocal facts: The Canadian Cera is a busy actor these days and he's the current prototype for what can be best described as the â"hot geek." The fringe cool girls like him, and it would appear, they could still bring him home to an accepting mom and dad.

Nicj and NoraEnter the exhibit, Nick and Norah. Nick's involved with Tris, the prettiest and shallowest girl in high school. She cheats on him, college guys included. The guitarist in a rock band with three screaming homosexual buddies, but alas with a Toys 'R' Us'-quality drum machine in lieu of a vacant drummer, Nick's a connoisseur of way underground Indy music. His exotic mix-CDs are known throughout high school for their elaborate musical assimilations and stylized artwork.

Norah's smitten with Nick's musical artistry; Tris not so much. She's not the only one—neither are we. He's a wholesome young man, no doubt, but Cera's one-trick-decency-pony is unraveling, as we watch him yet again navigate the adolescent angst-laden mosh pit in his oppressive angelic vein. No matter the movie or the circumstance, Cera's on-high persona doesn't seem of this world, like he's been sent from above to show the teenyboppers how to have fun, but not at the expense of getting along swell.

Eighteen-year-olds are necessarily wired young and dumb, character flawed in way so that they can learn the error of their own ways, not subversively illustrate those of others. Watching a teenage character fall and pick themselves back up again and again gives them an arc that lends itself to humorous and dramatic explorations. There's never any sense of unpredictability or risk when Cera's on screen. For over 35'ers, it's not unlike watching "Cary Grant: The Teenage Years."

For everyone else, it would seem, there's a measure of conservative-driven satisfaction - like buying a McDonald's hamburger - in knowing what you're getting with Cera. Budding cinematic landscapes populated by collective inexperience should be rife with social-cultural mines. Here such pitfalls are navigated by a teenage protagonist that's rendered practically paralyzed by his stunted disposition and retro-conservative point-of-view. This recurring Cera character, that's meant to serve as the beacon of light among a sea of wrongheaded childish characters, has quickly become the dull-edged alter ego to once fun-loving juvenile movie delinquents like Spicoli and Stifler. If mom and dad approve of him, then you should know something's wrong. Yawn.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
3 Stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
3.5 stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: Arabic, Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Language and Sound: Closed Captioned; Language and Sound:; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; director's commentary; audio commentary; deleted & alternate scenes; outtakes; puppet show short film; behind-the-scenes featurette; making-of featurettes; cast and crew interviews; photo gallery; music video.

Supplements:

*Commentary
oFeature-length commentary track with director Peter Sollett moderating cast members Cera, Dennings, and Graynor.
oFeature-length commentary track with Peter Sollett, novelists Rachel Cohn and David Levithan and screenwriter Lorene Scafaria
*Featurettes
oA Nick & Norah Puppet Show By Kat Dennings (5:12)
oAri Graynor's Video Diary: A Look Behind-The-Scenes (3:56)
oStoryboard Animations (9:01)
oFaux Interview (2:50)
oPeter Sollett's Photo Album
*Deleted and Alternate Scenes - (10:23)
*Previews
*Music video: Middle Management by Bishop Allen

Number of Discs: 2 with Keepcase Packaging. Disc 2 is a digital copy of the film.

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