Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (Review)

Glamorous indie rock and roll, New York is thy name. This aspirational film for hipster kids everywhere paints a portrait of overly talented and highly connected high school kids with fake IDs running amuck in NYC over one shimmering night of comically tumultuous coming of age set to some of the finest music the kid down the street insists is the best thing ever (on his blog). Welcome to Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Starting out in North Jersey (as all nights in Manhattan do) we are introduced to Norah – a brunette who seems indefinably uncomfortable in her private, single-sex school with a group of blonds who are nicely movie-plastic. She is in love with the desperate ex-boyfriend of classmate Tris whom she’s never met but knows only through a series of mixtapes that he has sent (and which Tris heartlessly trashes) over a six month period. This, of course is Nick, reluctant arbiter of taste and the straight bassist in a queer-core band struggling to come up with a name. Being in mourning still, he rebuffs his bandmate’s when they try to get him to come out for the evenings gig.

When an announcement is made on a radio station that the uber-cool and mysterious band Where’s Fluffy? (yes, their name is part of their gimmick) will be playing one of their infamous sets somewhere in the city that night though, everything swings into action for your typical night in the city romp as people meet, separate, lose cell phones, miscommunicate, get tired, get drunk, have sex, fall in love, get jealous, make mistakes and figure it all out before the first NJT train of the morning leaves Penn Station. Did I mention this is all set to the swirlingly warm tones of the most lauded indie tracks of the day?

The film really is a trainspotter’s dream. They name drop every lauded rock venue in two boroughs (cuz there is no need to ever go to Queens, The Bronx or SI) and the ever present soundtrack changes from minute to minute during the night that one has to be an astute trainspotter to keep up with it all. The story itself is rather conventional and Cera (Nick) shows once again that Apatow (who, for the record has nothing to do with this) is a genius at type casting but not so great at finding “actors.” Still when you fit the part you fit the part. The one person I’m happy to say has impressed me quite a bit in the performance department from said machine is Jay Baruchel who, after a strong turn in Tropic Thunder, takes on a seedy struggling musician in the mold of Julian Casablancas who is trying to use the other casting stand out, Kat Dennings’s (Charlie Bartlett, 40 Year Old Virgin) Norah, as a way to get a record deal for his Zion Fire Rock outfit. Also of note on the comic relief front are Norah’s bff Caroline played by Ari Graynor who provides the bulk of the B-story as she gets wasted and then gets lost by the super-gay bandmates Rafi Gavron (Breaking and Entering) and Aaron Yoo (21, The Wackness, Disturbia) who try to take her off Norah’s hands so that Nick can get the rebound started. (Yoo btw, is almost 30 and is still playing a kid in HS – take that Luke Perry).

While not earth shattering N&NIP is a nicely crafted piece of escapist fluff and if this is you kind of scene or, more likely if you’d like it to be Mr. Minnesota blogger, then I would say to rush out and see it like 8 times while you listen to the leaked soundtrack on your iPod. For everyone else – how do you feel about Before Sunrise light?



Cougar said...

"queer-core" Wow you learn something new everyday. Kat is hot and a local Philly girl. I want to see this movie.

movie fan said...

there were some awkward moments in this movie that were hard to get past... such as every time that gum was re-used (yuck!)

Quiz_Master said...

This is a very clean and family movie...
"Love in one night"- Made me believe in 'perfect love' again.
I've reviewed it too ::

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