“This playlist has a good mix of just the right elements.”

To watch my interview with Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, click here.

I think I may have discovered the secret to making an above board teenage romantic comedy. Or I should say I discovered a film that is above board in my mind due to certain added elements. Granted Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is still geared toward mid to late teens, and possibly early college age movie goers, but at least this one had enough style to keep my attention and entertain me for a few hours. That says a lot considering what this genre usually tries to pass off as art.

Nick (Michael Cera) is still heartbroken after his self absorbed girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena) dumped him a few weeks back. His friends and band mates figure that the best cure is a night in NY City playing music and club hopping. While there he runs into Norah (Kat Dennings) who catches his eye but can’t seem to pull his heart from Tris. Together they try and rescue lost, drunk friends, build some sort of relationship and most importantly, find Fluffy. It is amazing how much can happen in one night in Manhattan and Nick and Norah pretty much experience it all. And they do it all while swapping tunes and talking music.

I have to say I truly enjoyed this film. I laughed a lot and was engaged in the story and with the characters from scene one. Granted I am way older than anyone in this film or the age demographic they are reaching for. Still it has many elements that I found relatable, even if from some years ago, and a music soundtrack that is fresh, stylish and a dominant character in this film. Do you have to be a musician or music fanatic to enjoy this movie? I don’t think so. But I will say that you will miss a lot of the core vibe if you are not able to latch on to the rhythmic current. The simple romantic story of Nick and Norah is enough to satisfy most non musical movie goers. It is a modern day love story that I think is sweet and heartfelt. Much of that due to the Cera and Dennings factor.

True Cera is not much different than he was in Juno. But I am ok with that. I think this film called for that same likeable, almost geeky guy that you want to see get the girl. There is a part of most of us geeks in Nick and that is the relatable component, regardless of the generation. Likewise Norah is the sort of girl that you want to hang around. She isn’t hung up on herself or materialistic. She is for the most part comfortable in her own skin. Dennings was the perfect choice for this. She gives Norah the groove needed to accent Nick’s character. You love them as a couple and pull for them to be together from the start.

New York at night is the perfect backdrop for a movie like this. The clubs, the sounds, the lights. Like the music, NY becomes an essential character as they drive from place to place looking for the secret show from Fluffy. Also, I must applaud the story for creating two main characters that are in many ways conservative in nature. Maybe not in the textbook definition but compared to their friends and the characters usually created in teen films they are squeaky clean. Yet they are hip. This film, whether it meant to or not, shows that you can be sober, straight and infatuated while still being relevantly cool. While all around them people are losing their heads, these two remain in control. There is a solid goodness about them that I felt drew you to them.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including teen drinking, sexuality, language and crude behavior. Though it doesn’t come from the main characters it is prevalent throughout. I would be careful of letting your younger, under 16 teens, go this alone. I am not sure it ever tried to glamorize these elements. If anything it showed how sad, though at times laughable, these type characters are. But still, younger viewers could get the wrong idea. The perfect date movie for those 17 and over while those in their late 20’s and 30’s may find it trite and a little immature as a date outing. Certainly a must see for fans of current music. I give it 4 out of 5 shuffles. No it isn’t for everyone and it doesn’t break any new ground. But very few teen movies have this sort of groove and I must appreciate it for that. Again, just because it seemed to make an effort in places other films never figure out.

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and hosts a daily online talk show along with a weekend radio feature, The Mungles on Movies, with his wife Cindy. For additional reviews, interview clips and great DVD giveaways, visit the website”

Review copyright 2008 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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