October 6, 2008

Movie review: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

I had really been looking forward to this movie, and it didn’t disappoint.

From the trailers, I thought the movie was about them (Michael Cera & Kat Dennings as the title characters) knowing they wanted to be on a date, but having to fight through some pretty standard obstacles (drunk friends, ex-significant others, a yellow car people keep mistaking for a cab) in order to do so. So, it was a pleasant surprise to get to watch Nick & Norah actually work to get to know one another.

We have 2 main characters, surrounded by a wacky supporting cast – in this case, gay bandmates, a drunk best friend, a slutty ex-girlfriend and a mooching ex-boyfriend. It’s not a revolutionary plot, but it’s pulled off without pandering. In fact, it’s refreshing:

Refreshing to watch a movie about indie rock that doesn’t hit you over the head with how hip it is. Refreshing to hear teenage characters speak in normal sentences (To take absolutely nothing away from Amy Sherman-Palladino & Diablo Cody). Refreshing to have gay characters that are pretty well-rounded outside of their sexual orientation. Refreshing to have a female lead who is normal looking (she even has some meat to her!). But mostly...

Here’s the requisite spoiler alert warning...

The plot itself is refreshingly realistic. Sure, aside from the uniforms in that first scene, I have a hard time seeing my high school experience in what was depicted on screen, but I think know enough about Kids These Days to know they will relate – even if they don’t spend their Friday nights scouring NYC for an indie rock band.

It’s on one of those Friday nights that ‘Nick & Norah’ takes place. I have a thing for movies that take place all on one day and though ‘Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ is more ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ than ‘Before Sunrise,’ where it succeeds is [ironically] in its finiteness. We don’t have some bold declaration that these two will live Happily Ever After at the end; they’re just going to go home, start dating and see what happens – My, how perfectly appropriate for a pair of 17-year olds! And that’s a refreshing end to a romantic comedy.