Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Director: Peter Sollett
Starring: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Ari Graynor
Rating: 3 stars (out of five)
Enter a hip, indie world where high-school students stay out all night drinking, listening to great music and running around the dirty/sexy streets of New York. Everyone is skinny, funny and cool. Doesn’t sound at all like your high school experience? Join the nerdy club!
Innocent doormat Nick, played by Michael Cera (of Juno and Superbad fame), is lured out of his lovesick daze for the evening by his well-meaning bandmates. After playing a gig in the city (to which Nick’s snarky ex, played by Alexis Dziena, shows up) everyone separates to hunt for the clandestine show of their favorite band, Where’s Fluffy? Nick winds up in his beat-up Yugo, joined by Norah, the slightly bored Kat Dennings (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), who plays a poor little rich girl who is just aching for someone to “get” her.Â They flirt. They fight. They listen to music. Following clues to the Where’s Fluffy? venue, Nick and Norah instead find what they’ve really been looking for: love. Or at least really, really like.
While the gig remains elusive, the dilemmas start stacking up. Nick’s buddies lose Norah’s hilarious drunk friend Caroline (Ari Graynor). Nick’s ex and Norah’s “friend with benefits” annoyingly pop up at inopportune moments. Intoxicated New Yorkers insistently mistake the rusted-out yellow Yugo for a taxi. All the while, we see the beautifully-filmed hustle of New York’s pretty underbelly, set to the alternative tunes of today’s bastards of the young.
Directed by Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas), the movie loses momentum and credibility during the last 15 minutes or so. Smack in the middle of a mediocre, sappy ending, there’s another rush to Where’s Fluffy? and yet another run-in with those meddling exes—a final tug of the known before making the leap into the could be.
Although this is may not have been your teen reality, there are common pangs in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist that will put a knot in everyone’s gut: the heartbreak and humiliation of getting dumped, followed by the self-sabotage of not moving on. The uneasiness of not being liked for who you are. The inability to play the guitar. While some scenes in this movie are at times both frenetic and awkward, Cera, Dennings, Graynor and Dziena are convincing and capable actors who make it fun and familiar.
Sure, there are some gross-out jokes and unconvincing gay characters—whaddya expect? It’s a teen movie! But it’s also a sweet story with a suh-weet soundtrack.