While not one of the more well-known pictures from 2008, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist further added to the indie-style cred that Michael Cera had built up with Juno and helped Kat Dennings expand from her last big role (in The 40 Year Old Virgin), as this was her second “big” comedy of 2008 (the other was The House Bunny). Although not a box office sensation, the film made back triple its budget, proving that even these smaller type of films can still make money at the box office.
After a chance encounter, Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings) embark on a journey through New York’s indie rock scene on a quest to find the secret show of a legendary band, and wind up finding each other. Co-starring Alexis Dziena, Ari Graynor, Aaaron Yoo and Jay Baruchel; screenplay by Lorene Scafaria and directed by Peter Sollett.
As you can tell the plot to this one is pretty light, but that just means we aren’t weighed down with unnecessary plot developments and instead get to focus on the characters. And that’s really what this film is: a character piece. Seeing the two soon-to-be high school graduates (I assume they’re almost high school graduates; their parents are virtually non-existent here and the teenagers can apparently wander around New York City by themselves…which is kind of screwed up, but whatever) slowly move on from simple flirting to something more akin to a relationship really was what made the film so enjoyable to watch.
Of course as with any good character piece, the stars of the film are only as good as their supporting cast and there is really a fantastic ensemble. Nick’s bandmates are all absolutely hilarious and make for some of the best sight and aural gags in the entire film and Norah’s perpetually drunk friend Caroline (Ari Graynor), who reminds me of a younger Tatum O’Neal, is a riot to watch as well. Although I have to say that train station toilet sequence was really hard to stomach, especially when you see where that piece of gum goes for the rest of the film. Just thinking about it makes me feel slightly ill.
But it’s those gross gum things that will make this movie stand out down the line. While I hesitate to call it a future cult classic, it certainly has the strapping’s of such. I’m sure others will fault it for a relatively mopey and overly sappy construction of a love story between Nick and Norah, but as cheesy as it is, it was really just kind of a sweet little story. Of course I was probably drawn to the film more because of Michael Cera, but it’s not necessarily a gender specific outing either; while it may appear as such, it has about the same appeal as Juno did, with slightly less adult themes.
Honestly this is a very simple and uncomplicated film and one that is kind of hard to review because of that. There’s nothing to confuse you about the story and the ending is a nice and sweet little resolution, while the aforementioned “sidequests” of the supporting cast is just about as entertaining as Nick and Norah’s main story. Although there is the annoying character to factor in, provided in this film by Alexis Dziena, who has an eerily perfect looking face; kind of like a creepy doll…and not to completely knock the actress, but I’m thinking she could play a female Chuckie with little make-up.
In any case, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a great little film, although I have to say for an “indie” style film that supposedly has a great playlist, I honestly don’t remember a single song that played during this movie. Either it was overly subtle or I just didn’t notice the soundtrack at all. Oh well, perhaps on a repeat viewing the songs will stand out more. Recommended.
Sony has released a solid little package here for Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist with all of the goodies from the standard DVD release to this release as well as a few Blu-ray bonuses that are really just a big waste of time, but at least they tried. The set itself comes in a standard two-disc case (second disc is the digital copy only), complete with a reflective foil sticker slapped to the front of the case denoting the digital copy, which is really annoying to me. They’ve been doing that with a lot of their releases lately…very irksome.
Video for this film arrives in an AVC encoded transfer that is pretty straightforward as far as transfers go. Since the film takes place almost entirely at night, there is a lot of grain spread across almost the entirety of the film, but underneath the faint grain haze is plenty of detail and the ability to pick out individual strands of hair and fabric texture is definitely there. The TrueHD 5.1 mix is also rather straightforward, with a heavy front end and some subwoofer usage for when the subwoofer is required to kick in. Audio tracks in French and Portuguese are also available in TrueHD 5.1, as well as Spanish DD5.1. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Dutch and English SDH.
Extras for this release are all, sadly, in standard definition. The two big goodies here are the commentaries. First up is Telestrator Commentary with Director Peter Sollett, Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, and Ari Graynor, which has random writings appear on the screen based on the commentators comments and is a much more jovial gathering with Kat and Michael on board, while the Audio Commentary with director Peter Sollett, Authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and screenwriter Lorene Scafaria is a bit more focused on the production and construction of the film. Both are worth checking out if you enjoyed the film, as they give you a nice look behind-the-scenes (considering there’s no making-of here, it’s as best as we get too).
The rest of the extras are pretty straightforward and include:
Deleted and Alternate Scenes (9 total, SD)
Outtakes (4:13, SD)
“Middle Management” Music Video (2:53, SD)
A Nick and Norah Puppet Show by Kat Dennings (5:13, SD)
Storyboard Animations (2, with optional commentary by Sollett and editor Myron Kerstein)
Ari Graynor’s Video Diaries (3:57, SD)
Faux Interview with Cera, Dennings and Eddie Kaye Thomas (2:51, SD)
Peter Sollett’s Photo Album
It’s a decent selection of extras, but nothing about them are all that entertaining. The deleted scenes are pretty standard fare, and the outtakes reel doesn’t have all that much in the way of funny flubs on it. The puppet show is cute but a bit superfluous and the rest of the extras are a mixture of some limited on-set footage (diaries) and just incredibly odd (faux interview). The faux interviews is actually the most disappointing, as it’s mostly focused on Cera upstaging Dennings, which is fine, but I think it’s been done before on other DVDs much better (and with Cera to boot, especially on the Apatow features).
Overall a solid release for the film, but the Blu-ray extras (Cinechat, interactive playlist) are not really worth it as they’re…well, kind of pathetic. I also had playback issues with the disc on my PC, as WinDVD would wig out about the available pop-up menu; it would just keep flashing on screen, as if it was constantly being brought up and minimized. Very…strange. If you are looking to build your Blu-ray collection up, this ones Recommended, although in all honesty the DVD will probably be fine for the majority of buyers.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.