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Youth in Revolt

A 2010 American film adaptation of C.D. Payne's novel of the same name.

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Michael Cera and his bad self...reunited.

  • Jun 20, 2011
*** out of ****

I'm beginning to admire Miguel Arteta more and more as I see more of his feature films. Maybe I like the guy because he crafts comedies as few other genre directors can. He's something special, for sure, and he often gets a boost from his nicely-picked screen-writers. I liked Arteta's film "Youth in Revolt" because it has Arteta written all over it. It's a funny, often clever and sly, and sometimes whimsical coming-of-age comedy that may not rank among the best for its kind, but is still fun to watch and plenty easy to enjoy.

How could you not enjoy it? Many of us have been where the film's central character, Nick Twisp, have been. The story begins with the young man Nick (Michael Cera) introducing us to his life and his lack of love. He's a virgin, and he believes that he will die without such a thing taken from him. He's a "loser"; a lover of classical music, classical movies, and a genuine goody-two-shoes. He hasn't done anything bad in his life, yet he's been given one big shit situation for a life. He lives with his biological mother and her boyfriend (Zach Galifianakis). Nick's real father (Steve Buscemi) lives somewhere else with his young, beautiful wife.

One day, bad people show up on Nick's door-step, looking for his non-biological father, who has to "pay up or die". Knowing that he can't pay no matter what the hell he does (he spent all the money he owed on a brand new Lincoln), so he insists that the little unhappy family hit the road, and stay in a trailer park for a while. And this is what Nick and his family does. It is in the trailer park that Nick meets the beautiful Sheeni Saunders; a girl that initially seems too good to be true. She's good looking, she's intelligent, and she has good ambitions going for her. But her family consists of a stoner (and creepy) brother played by Justin Long, two religious parents (Mary Kay Place as Mrs. Saunders, and M. Emmet Walsh as Mr. Saunders), and the inability to have free will. The two strike up a friendship which buds into a romance, even though Nick is less than impressive.

However, disaster seemingly strikes when Nick learns that he must go away for some time to return home. Sheeni claims that she cannot be with Nick unless he is bad enough to make his way back to her, so Nick creates an alter-ego named Francois (ALSO Michael Cera). And this is where the bad-assery begins.

Some of the most entertaining scenes contained within "Youth in Revolt" are shared between Nick and his bad-ass alter-ego. Francois is already long into the bad-boy business; and his free-will allows Nick to do some noticeably radical things (which get him into trouble with the law, his parents, etc). And there you have all you need to know about the movie.

Michael Cera is an awkward actor, and that is why I like him. He's very funny, yet very realistic. For his Nick character, Cera does not change a bit, but for Francois, he gets to expand his talents. He can do serious; he can do bad-ass. I appreciate the creativity put into this story, and Cera seems to be a perfect fit for this adaptation (which is of a book written by C.D. Payne). Portia Doubleday plays Sheeni, and she is a fresh new talent who I will be looking out for in the coming years. Ray Liotta is also delightfully cool and sometimes even funny as a police officer who takes a liking to Nick's mother. Best of all, in the supporting cast, is Fred Willard as a charmingly quirky guy named Mr. Ferguson.

"Youth in Revolt" is a funny movie, through-and-through. It's also one that cares about how it is shot, how quirky/unique it is, and how the actors are able to come together and make the thing funny. I really enjoyed it, while it lasted. It is by no means a fantastic film, but there is talent on display, Arteta's direction is top-notch, and I laughed more than I probably wanted to. And it takes a clever movie to make me laugh more than once, or twice, so this movie probably deserves all the praise that I am giving it. And I've given it all I can.

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More Youth in Revolt (movie) reviews
review by . January 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
In 1993 C.D. Payne wrote a Young Adult Novel called Youth in Revolt about a teenager named Nick Twisp.  It was a series that was eventually split into six books.  The first three were compressed together to form an epic novel that was simply called "Youth in Revolt."  It's those three books combined that this movie is based off of.  The book itself is a cult classic.  With an interesting character in Nick Twisp.  He may not be that believable but he is likeable …
review by . February 04, 2010
Michael Cera is a smart, funny, slightly awkward young man.  I know this because every role he has ever played has reinforced this knowledge.  Like Christopher Walken before him he excells at playing versions of himself.  And he does the same in Miguel Arteta's film "Youth in Revolt," adapted from the novel of the same name by C.D. Payne.  But part way through the film something very interesting happens, Nick Twisp (Cera) creates a 'don't give a damn' alter ego …
Quick Tip by . July 30, 2010
The movie did a good job using the various plot elements found in the book and shortening it to the good parts. It's good, but be prepared for some crude and filthy language.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
You might see Youth in Revolt as a coming of age story of sorts, but much of it whips by so fast that we hardly see just how the characters change. Near the end especially it's just not convincing enough just how Nick and Sheeni enjoy their moment together because just a couple of scenes before there's a huge ounce of drama where the characters find out one of the things Nick has done, and they get mad at him. Yet mere minutes later all is forgiven without much explanation at all. This is what makes …
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
prepare yourself for a movie that's kind of random, sort of in a good way, though not with much of a point. it's reasonably entertaining and will hold your interest most of the way through. also be prepared to watch this kid play the same role he's done in every other film : / it'll put you in the mood to watch a real film that used this device successfully... i.e. Fight Club.
review by . January 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Your enjoyment of YOUTH IN REVOLT will mostly directly correlate to a) how much you like Michael Cera's "signature" film persona & b) how anxious you are to see him try something else.    Whether he's Nick in NICK & NORA'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, George Michael in ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT or the guy in SUPERBAD or the caveman guy in YEAR ONE...Cera mostly gives one performance, that is only modulated by as little as he can get away with. (Let me be clear...when he's modulated his performance …
Quick Tip by . January 14, 2010
YOUTH IN REVOLT is Michael Cera's first serious play for progress in his career and he does not disappoint.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Michael Cera adds to his collection of quick-witted young men with his portrayal of 16-year-old Nick Twisp. Born on the trashy side of the Oakland tracks, Nick hates his name almost as much as his life. Everyone he knows, including his divorced parents (Jean Smart and Steve Buscemi), gets more action than he does, but his luck changes when he meets junior femme fatale Sheeni (Portia Doubleday) during a trailer-park vacation. She may have overprotective parents (Mary Kay Place and M. Emmet Walsh) and a boyfriend back at school, but she also likes Jean-Paul Belmondo movies, Serge Gainsbourg records--and Nick. There's just one hitch--she prefers bad boys, so Nick creates cynical, cigarette-smoking alter ego François Dillinger to win her heart (just as musician Gainsbourg created devilish doppelgänger Gainsbarre). Little does Nick know he's playing with fire--literally--since François gives him license to set his pent-up inhibitions free: he sneaks into Sheeni's private-school dorm, blows up his mother's boyfriend's car (Zach Galifianakis as the boyfriend), and trips on magic mushrooms with Sheeni's burnout brother and a radical family friend (Justin Long and Fred Willard, both hilarious). As withChuck and BuckandThe Good Girl, Miguel Arteta's adaptation of C.D. Payne's young adult series offers equal parts sorrow and humor. The animated sequences add whimsy, but there's something more disturbing than romantic about ...
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Director: Miguel Arteta
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: January 8, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: June 15, 2010
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Permut
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