Michael Cera needs to pay closer attention to the projects he signs onto. While the upcoming Scott Pilgrim looks to be a fantastic action/comedy film, Cera’s recent theatrical (and direct to video) works have been nothing short of abysmal. First he somehow appeared in Extreme Movie for a few minutes; then co-starred in Year One, a truly abysmal little film, and Paper Heart which wasn’t so much bad as it was disappointing. Then he returned to theaters in 2010 with Youth in Revolt, a film where Cera would play a bad-ass version of himself and…well, that’s it really. It’s a pretty simple (and strange) plot that truly has about as much laughter as any of the aforementioned movies.
YOUTH IN REVOLT is a coming-of-age comedy that puts a fresh and outrageous stamp on a tale of adolescent obsession and rebellion. Based on the acclaimed novel by C.D. Payne, YOUTH IN REVOLT is the story of Nick Twisp – a unique, but affable teen with a taste for the finer things in life like Sinatra and Fellini – who falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful, free-spirited Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) while on a family vacation. But family, geography and jealous ex-lovers conspire to keep these two apart. With Sheeni’s encouragement, Nick abandons his dull, predictable life and develops a rebellious alter ego: Francois. With his ascot, his moustache and his cigarette, Francois will stop at nothing to be with Sheeni, and leads Nick Twisp on a path of destruction with unpredictable and uproarious consequences.
I think there’s an unwritten law somewhere that Ray Liotta ruins films, because I swear whenever he shows up in something the quality of it immediately descends into something that makes you want to shut it off immediately. Honestly the best word I can use to describe this movie is simply “annoying.” There’s nothing redeemable about it in the least, as it’s teenagers acting like teenagers in the worst sense; while Cera played a teen looking to lose his virginity already in Superbad he does it here with little compassion. He seems to have feelings for the Sheeni character, but it’s hard to tell if those are driven by his heart or his penis because there’s little distinction between the two with the parallel characters he plays in the film.
The trailers really sold the film, I thought—I mean that car crash scene was pretty hilarious and was one of only two genuine laughs I got out of the entire film. It’s not that the film is dark so much as it’s filled with annoying characters; it’s like watching Gentleman Broncos, except you hate the main character in this film as well. I’ve been a fan of Cera’s works since Arrested Development but he’s made some truly abysmal work since then and this will definitely go down as one of those films that people could hardly stand to watch.
I will say that Fred Willard was solid in the film and was the producer of my other laugh—the scene where they show up at Cera’s house in their underwear was quite amusing…but, again, short-lived. Justin Long’s character seemed superfluous and Zach Galifianakis was…well, he was just completely wasted. It was a really slipshod story filled with immensely dislikable characters with zero redeeming qualities—I guess this is a more true-to-life story in that sense, but man…I genuinely disliked watching nearly every second of this film.
Overall Youth in Revolt has no redeeming qualities; it adds another embarrassing mark on Cera’s resume and I can only hope Scott Pilgrim washes away the thoughts of his past couple years of films away expeditedly (I don’t care if that’s not a word, I’m using it anyway). Definitely a film you can easily Skip.
Sony releases Youth in Revolt to both Blu-ray and DVD, although for this review I’ll be going over the DVD release only. It arrives in a standard amaray style DVD case without any fancy inserts or anything; it has a fair share of extras although it’s certainly nothing that blows you away in terms of complexity or completeness. Video for this film looks clean and clear and what you’d expect from a modern production and the DD5.1 audio brings to life the sounds of exploding cars and…well, crashing cars because that’s really the only use the subwoofer gets out of this film.
Commentary with Director and Michael Cera
Deleted Scenes (10:48)
Off the Chain Deleted and Extended Animated Sequences (7:11)
Audition Footage (Five Auditions, ~2 minutes each)
The commentary is sadly quite mundane as it seems like they’re only going through daily events in their head, as there apparently weren’t any truly memorable stories from the set to recant. I will say that the “off the chain” animated sequences did remind me of the only other positive element of the film—the claymation portion in the beginning and the other strange additions throughout were definitely original…but it only further added to the films strangeness.
Though I consider myself a fan of Cera, I honestly can’t recommend this film at all. In fact I really just say you should Skip It as it is a truly annoying film that is not worth your time in the least.
Youth in Revolt arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on June 15th.