Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Review by Patrick Hodges

I’m 39 years old.  I thought I should point that out right up front.  So, as you can imagine, a movie like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is not the kind of film that I would pay to see.  However, when I scored a ticket to see an advance screening, I jumped at the chance.  (There’s something pretty cool about being one of the first to see any movie, no matter what movie it is, and this was my first advance screening EVER.  Plus, it was free, and who could pass that up?)

But how can one credibly review a film whose target demographic is roughly half his age?  Well, it’s been a while, but there was a time when I was much like the characters in this film; when the future was full of endless possibilities, when relationships meant something completely different to every individual, and when the funnest times you ever had were when your social calendar was random, unpredictable and completely directionless.

Nick (Michael Cera), a quite talented musician and a very likable guy, is still moping over having been dumped by his girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena), who is that girl you remember from high school; the prom queen who goes through guys like Kleenex and utterly convinced of her own perfection.  Norah (Kat Dennings) is a sensible, intelligent girl whose main social duty seems to be keeping her oft-inebriated friend Caroline (Ari Gaynor) out of trouble.  But when all of them end up at a gig where Nick’s band is playing, Norah convinces him to pretend to be her boyfriend so she won’t feel so awkward in front of Tris.  But what was supposed to be a fake kiss ends up igniting a spark between them.

This entire film takes place over one night, as Nick, Norah and their “friends” try to accomplish the dual tasks of tracking down Caroline, who has gone missing, and finding the secret locale where an ultra-mega-cool band called “Where’s Fluffy?” is going to be playing.  All the while, Nick and Norah get to know each other, bonding over their love of music while trying to sort out their past romantic failures. 

Even an old guy like me can appreciate the on-screen chemistry that Cera and Dennings possess.  Right from the beginning, one can tell that they are nearly perfect matches for each other.  And while the scope of the film doesn’t really allow for much character development, there is more than enough youthful exuberance and humor to carry the film.  (And there is also a single wad of gum, which… ah, it’s better if you just see it for yourself.  You’ll know what I’m talking about.)

If you are young enough that your lifestyle includes such activities as cruising the streets of the big city looking for good times, or have experienced the incredible highs and lows of that awkward first romance, then you will probably enjoy Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  If such activities are in your long-ago past, you might still enjoy it, but probably not quite as much.

3 / 5 stars (subtracting one star for every decade I’ve aged since Sixteen Candles, don’t hold that against me!)



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