Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

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Posted October 1, 2008 in Film

Peter Sollett’s indie teen romance may star geek crush Michael Cera, but it’s the anti-Juno. There’s no snap and snark, only the inarticulate disdain of self-conscious high schoolers—it’s a love story where the way to the heart isn’t the mind but the iPod. (Given all the vomit and ABC gum jokes, it’s certainly not through the stomach.) Cera is Nick, a guy in a band still crushing hard on ex-girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena), whose desperate mix CDs titled “Road to Closure v. 1-12” have made their way from the trashcan to Norah (Kat Dennings). Lorene Scafaria’s screenplay, based on the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, poises itself as a romcom for the MySpace generation where would-be lovers know each other’s top ten bands before the first date. Nick and Norah share none of the bright chemistry or enjoyment for life of their namesakes in William Powell and Myrna Loy’s The Thin Man. They’re New Jersey groupies posturing as Manhattan brats, and the night they meet they spend searching for a secret show starring their, like, totally favorite band Where’s Fluffy. Music is the only thing they care about; Norah is the type of fictitious slacker we’ve seen a lot of lately: smart enough to get into Brown, but too lethargic to bother going. The film works best when capturing the feel of being young, restless, and drowning in options where the nearsighted obsession with pop culture makes a live set by an uncool band feel like a personal affront. But Sollett’s invested in ephemera, not people—never more so then when the couple gets busy in a recording studio and the camera chooses to pivot and pan sensuously across the synthesizer. (Amy Nicholson)

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