A Droid Premiere – Youth in Revolt (2010)

A Droid Premiere

I’ll state this first up. I’m a sucker for these types of films. Films about a young, awkward guy, who will go to any length to get the girl of his dreams. Admittedly, they’re not usually any good, but every so often one comes along that is well written, features good performances, is genuinely funny and a little bit unique. ‘Youth in Revolt’ is that type of film.

Youth in Revolt Poster Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is an intelligent, creative, nerdy, virginal, Frank Sinatra loving, french film enthusiast. Living with his mum Estelle (Jean Smart) and her slovenly boyfriend Jerry (Zach Galifianakis), he’s alone in the world, with only his equally awkward and geeky best friend Lefty (Erik Knudsen) for company. Why he’s called Lefty is pretty funny. When the car Jerry sells to some Navy men breaks down, and they demand their money back or else, they all head out of town to a “cabin” (actually a trailer) to lie low for a while. There, Nick meets Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), daughter of devout christian parents (M. Emmet Walsh and Mary Kay Place). Sheeni shares his love of French film. More specifically, she loves anything French. Nick instantly falls in love. But after a few days, Jerry hurts his back, and they have to head home for his painkillers. Nick must devise a way to get back to Sheeni. The only way is to embrace the rebellious teenager inside him. To achieve this, he creates an alter ego, impressively named François Dillinger.

Youth in Revolt 1 Some people don’t like Michael Cera. Sometimes I can understand why. He usually plays very similar characters to this one. Awkward. Shy. Nerdy. But he does it well. Sometimes he’s so laid back in his performances he comes across as half asleep, but behind the nerdy exterior his characters are, more often than not, intelligent. He has a very good sense of comic timing (just watch ‘Arrested Development’ to see it in action). But what he does here is prove that he can be more than just the “nerdy guy”. By playing dual roles, he creates two separate characters. There’s the usual Michael Cera type. But also, in François, who always with a rolly dangling from his mouth, he creates a cool, kind of creepy, almost dangerous character that shows us that he can be more than our expectations. With his wispy moustache, blue eyes and European threads, Francois looks ever so slightly different from Nick, but what Cera does to differentiate the character is to give piercing looks and lower is voice just slightly. In scenes where Nick and François are having a conversation, it’s very effective.

Youth in Revolt 2 The cast is superb. Along with Cera, Smart, Walsh and Place, it features Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, Justin Long and Fred Willard. Portia Doubleday, as the dream girl, is very good. Justin Long turns up late in the film to steal a few scenes as the drug-addled older brother of Sheeni, and Willard has a particularly funny scene where he… well, I won’t ruin the gag for you.

Youth in Revolt 4 Adapted by Gustin (!?) Nash, based on the book by C.D. Payne (unread by me), and directed by Miguel Arteta, who made ‘Chuck and Buck’, which I haven’t seen, and ‘The Good Girl’ which I have seen but immediately forgot, ‘Youth’ is just this side of quirky. The opening credits are in stop motion animation, and there are a couple of other scenes, both ‘trips’ of different kinds, that also include animation. Arteta shows a terrific sense of comic timing, generating some genuine laugh out loud moments, and he keeps things moving at a brisk pace. It’s a slim story, more about character and situation, and the pace helps keep us involved. The scenes with Nick and François are seamlessly cut together, never showy and always believable. The score is good, helping to underline the comedy, and also touching on the films (characters) French inspirations.

Youth in Revolt 5 ‘Youth in Revolt’ was surprisingly funny and intelligent. Not quite what I was expecting, and that’s a good thing. It has some very good performances, and a good message about being yourself, and while it may not make anyone’s Top 10, it’s a cut above the usual ‘young adult’ type movie that Hollywood pumps out. That’s probably why it didn’t do that well at the box office. Recommended for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

two and a half changs


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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

34 responses to “A Droid Premiere – Youth in Revolt (2010)”

  1. ThereWolf says :

    I did see a trailer for this awhile ago – and remained stern of face throughout!

    I can watch this kind of stuff the once but rarely take anything away from it. Burned too many times, man…

    • Droid says :

      Well, it’s not for everyone. I have battered wife syndrome with these types of flicks. Every now and then they pull their punches.

  2. Continentalop says :

    You had me at “Hardcore Lipstick Lesbian Action.”

    Wait, you didn’t write that? Oh well, still looks halfway ok. Maybe I’ll check it out.

  3. koutchboom says :

    Hahahaha this movie just come out over there? I’m pretty sure its in the bargain DVD bin over here. And really fuck this movie and fuck Michael Cera he sill owes me my money back for the free screening of year one I walked out of.

    • Droid says :

      Nah, it came out over here a while back.

      Your bargain bins must work differently to ours. Usually they have to be released on dvd first.

      It comes out on dvd in the US on June 15th. To avoid further inane comments, you might want to employ a fact checker.

      • koutchboom says :

        Whatever no one gave as shit about this movie anyway, who cares when it actually hits dvds? Poor Fred Willard being reduced to be in filth like this.

      • Droid says :

        Yes, Koutch. Implement your tried and tested “Whatever” defence strategy. Very good. Always a winner.

        Filth? Do explain, old chap.

      • koutchboom says :

        The whatever isn’t a defence is just a lame word I always use because of my small vocabularay I don’t know how to better start a sentence. Please ignore it if you can’t get past it.

        But seriously this has nothing to with the actual DVD release date just saying that no one gave a shit about this movie and it feels like its already in the bargain bin DVD section thats all. Like I thought it came out early last year not just back in January.

        And it is filth because someone thinks that Michael Cera should really have a career for whatever reason. You know he is doing the best out of all the former Arressted Development stars? I personally find that filthy and disgusting that they are pushing this douchebag down our throats to be some comedian star.

        With that said, if there is any hope of him doing anything meaningful in the world of cinema it will be because of top brit Edgar Wright. Other then that please Cera, kindly fuck off.

      • Droid says :

        Hes doing “the best” because he obviously has some sort of appeal to people. Obviously you don’t like him, but evidently not everyone shares your opinion.

        Me personally, as I’ve stated previously, have nothing against him. He was great in AD, but I’ve disliked or hated the movies he’s been in. He doesn’t annoy me, but he just comes across as very samey. In this he plays half a character that is different, which was a pleasant surprise.

        I watched this out of curiosity, with the only expectation being that I’d probably dislike it and it turned out I really enjoyed it. It’s not for everyone, just like some random french animated film or a killer clown movie isn’t for everyone.

        What it all boils down to is, if you don’t want to watch it for whatever reason, then don’t. But don’t get pissy when someone does and publishes their opinion of it.

      • koutchboom says :

        I wasn’t getting pissy. I was just expressing my opinion of it, and like I said it felt like this movie came out forever ago not just a couple of months.

        I really don’t mind Cera, out side of Year One he hasn’t bothered me. Just that movie was so bad it should have killed his career not helped it. And most people share my opinion about Youth In Revolt, in that no one gave a shit about it. Its not so much a reflection of the movie in any way, maybe more so the marketing, but really no one gave a shit about this film. Take that as a bad thing if you want I was merely pointing out the obvious. I mean you can call it some under rated gem but your review of it makes it seem that the people were right in this matter, you don’t make it seem like its something one should actively seek out and watch.

        While something like Killer Klowns is an under rated gem of a movie that I would suggest to people who usually don’t like that genre of movie because they would be surprised. Same with A Town Called Panic or Bon Cop, Bad Cop, yes you may not be a fan of those type of films normally but give those films a shot you may be surprised. I’m not feeling that from you about Youth In Revolt.

      • Droid says :

        And I saw the trailer to that Edgar Wright movie and it looks shit.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well it is a Comic Book movie…..
        I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt because of the inclusion of Chris Evans as the cocky ass hole. Plus I’ve heard that Cera is sort of sidelined for better use of the ensemble cast. It looks like a lot of fun and Wright is a better then average film maker. I’m not in love with him like most people, his films tend to be about 15 minutes too long and overly one trick ponies. Seeing that this movie has a nerdlinger fighting something like 7 ex boyfriends this too could prove to be another one trick pony. Also the poster is fucking god awful. So you MAY BE RIGHT, and HOPEFULLY that means Cera will take a 5 years off and the rest of the AD cast will finally get some good work and it can be THEM to shit on Cera when he is beging for a AD reunion movie.

      • Droid says :

        Well, maybe I’m not doing my job then. The intention of it was to inform the reader that, if you can’t stand Cera, don’t bother seeing it because it’s unlikely to change your opinion. But if you’re just ‘meh’ about him like I am, this might come as a pleasant surprise. And if thats the case, while I wouldn’t recommend running out and renting it ASAP, I would recommed watching it if the opportunity arises.

        For example, what the reviews I read about Killer Clowns or Bon Cop or Town of Panic or whatever they’re called didn’t do is inspire me to rush out and see them. What they did do is put them on my radar, and if I have the opportunity to see any of them I’ll know they come recommended and I’ll probably watch them. And that’s what I was going for with this review. That’s what a 2 1/2 chang review should be.

      • koutchboom says :

        Whats funny about the fact that this comes from a book is that I heard some critics playing up the fact that they were major fans of the book and that it is some cult book? That was before the movie came out and wasn’t some huge hit, I suspected that they had never read the book and were trying to sound cool.

        Also you gotta see Chuck and Buck and Suck and Fuck! Just to see the director of Twilight 2 get it on with the American version of Ewen Bremner:

        Trust me that is something that can’t be unseen. Also I agree with you about the Good Girl.

      • Droid says :

        I’ve not read the comic (I can’t even remember what it’s called). All I remember is that when we were over at AICN, every cockgobbler and his dog was crapping on about it. The trailer makes it look annoying if anything. It may not be a true representation of the film, who knows. Wright is fine. Shaun of the Dead is awesome, but Hot Fuzz is totally overrated. As is Spaced. But neither are bad. Just not as good as everyone makes out.

      • koutchboom says :

        The comic has the same name. Its the Scot Pilgram series there is like 6 of them. They are heir uber alles trendy. But yeah I agree with you about the over ratedness of Hot Fuzz and Spaced, I’ll even throw Shaun of the Dead in there as well. It’s fine and all but people act like its the end all of movies sometimes.

      • Jarv says :

        2.5-3 changs is for a good film- intention is to put on radar so if you feel like you go and get it.

        3.5-4 is for go and get them now films.

        That’s how I see it, anyway.

        Still no interest in that SPvTW film. Never even heard of the funnybook either.

      • Droid says :

        No I couldn’t remember what the both the comic and film were called.

        I love SotD. Classic film.

  4. MORBIUS says :

    When this came out I was still in Michael Cera overload, so I passed on this and NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST.

    Perhaps a rental is in order…

    • Droid says :

      I never saw Nick and Nora. I hated Superbad and Year One. To be honest, the only thing I like him in is Arrested Development.

      I was prepared to dislike this, as I remember being completely disinterested by the trailer, but it surprised me.

  5. kloipy says :

    I might give this one a try Droid. I am in the camp of Cera haters. His schtick has just gotten old for me

    • Droid says :

      If you hate Cera, don’t go out of your way to see it. But if some time down the line you come across it, it might work for you as it did me.

  6. Jarv says :

    Nope. Not for me.

  7. Tom_Bando says :

    Needs Giant Robots.

  8. Jarv says :

    *scratches head*


    1. I don’t give a fuck about Cera either way
    2. I’d never heard of this
    3. Scott Pilgrim v The World I’d also never heard of
    4. I also don’t give a fuck about it
  9. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    Good review Droid. Sorry I just got around to reading this.

    Koutch, there’s a reason that Droid isn’t really raving about this or making a giant case for it. Because it’s just like he says it is. I read the book, so it was actually even more disappointing for me, but he’s right. It’s not terrible, it can be quite funny and amusing–but, if you dislike Cera, it’s just a no go from frame one.

    It’s nice to see the supporting cast, but then again I’m almost always happy to see most of those guys in a movie.

    This is really the definitive 2 to 2.5 star movie. It’s not gonna blow your mind, but if you aren’t expecting it, it can be a decent night of entertainment.

    I feel like your screams of ‘filth’ and what not are related to baggage, not the actual movie, which I assume you haven’t seen.

    I do this too from time to time, but I try to keep an open mind cause sometimes Im wrong. I can’t stand Jonah Hill for instance, but recently saw Cyrus and had to concede that not only was the movie as a whole good, he even did a decent job with a tricky role.

    • koutchboom says :

      Either way no one gives a shit about this and yes I’ve confirmed it the dvd is going straight to the bargain bin.

  10. yourmommalovesme says :

    Nick and Nora brought me around on Cera a bit. I was getting tired of his shtick but he changed it up for that movie and played more of a normal dude and it worked.

    • xiphos0311 says :

      That’s me above I didn’t realize I was logged in under that name. I use it to make fun of political people.

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