A review of “Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: PG-13 for language and mature themes

Run Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

 

 

          Silly teen romances are a dime-a-dozen and “Nick and Nora” is no exception. But for the delightful addition of “It” guy Michael Cera (“Juno”) who has managed to woo a generation of geekier-than-thou adolescents with boy-next-door charm.

          Cera is the titular Nick, a broken-hearted high school senior trying to recover from the dumping received at the hands (and heart) of Tris (Alexis Dziena), a Lolita in True Religions who’s moved on to bigger and better things.

          About the time that Nick is burning Tris another volume of his agonizing break-up mix (aptly titled “Closures”) pals corral him into a night on the town to seek out elusive underground sensation band Where’s Fluffy, who are dropping baffling clues all over Manhattan.

          At one such indie rock haunt Nick meets Norah (Kat Dennings), a brainy frenemy of Tris’ and head squire in best friend cum party girl Caroline’s (Ari Graynor) quest for maximum attention. There’s a spark, and there’s baggage, in the form of Norah’s on-again-off-again squeeze who may be using her to get to her record industry bigwig dad. Not to mention the fact that Tris doesn’t want Nick but doesn’t want anyone else wanting him either.

The romantic bait and switch is sweet but not unexpected. The sleepless, all-night format generates memories of other sparkly genre staples (“Sixteen Candles”, “Before Sunrise”, etc.) and Cera’s gay best friends give it a fresher face than most. Ditto the intermittent wit as this bright bunch express such snap observations as not wanting to be the goody bag at your pity party. Ha.

Cera transcends the material at its most trite; someone get this guy something dramatic to chew on and fast. As a valentine to the young bridge and tunnel crowd it works wonders but ultimately its stale youth and destiny theme grows tiresome.