Netflix UK film review: Youth in Revolt
James R | On 25, May 2013
Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi, Zach Galifianakis
Watch Youth in Revolt online in the UK: Netflix UK / Apple TV (iTunes) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
“I want to wrap your legs around my head and wear you like the crown that you are.” Hang on a minute, did Michael Cera just say that? Michael Cera off Arrested Development? The all-round likeable, soft-spoken dweeb? That’s not the Michael Cera we know. That’s more like some kind of rebellious French alter-ego.
That’s exactly what it is.
You see, Nick Twisp (Cera) is a bit of a loser. He likes Frank Sinatra. And he’s a virgin. Too bad Sheeni (Doubleday), the love of his life, doesn’t find that attractive. She goes for bad boys. French boys. Boys who set fire to things and smoke cigarettes. So Nick dreams up his double, Francois Dillinger. Who torches half of Denver with a caravan.
Up-scaling his disastrous acts of rebellion, Nick sets out to win Sheeni’s heart. All he has to do is upset his mum (Smart) enough to get kicked out by her and her fat slob boyfriend (Galifianakis) and shipped off to live with his dad (Buscemi). Then he’ll be with Sheeni forever and ever.
It’s a quaint and quirky tale of one man’s struggle against his persona – and that’s perfect for Michael Cera, whose persona is pretty much fixed for life (see 2013’s This Is the End). Once again, he plays the nice boy next door with a gentle larynx and conservative fashion sense. But the brilliance of Youth in Revolt is its split-personality device; Cera swearing and wearing a moustache? That’s really funny. Especially with his deadpan delivery.
The supporting cast, too, are all decent – Buscemi and Galifianakis are solid laugh generators, with Portia Doubleday’s believably desirable girlfriend proving easy on the funny bone. It’s a generally well-written piece with a balance that will suit both adults and teens. The only misstep is an overly quirky, self-aware animated segment that cheapens the whole affair. That aside, this is a strong vehicle for Michael Cera. And he deserves it.
Youth in Revolt is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.