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Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Columbia Pictures, PG-13)

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I wish I could tell you what happens in Nick & Norah, but I can’t. See, nothing really happens in the film, and yet, the characters manage to do a lot of stuff. It’s very Seinfeldian that way. And, once I thought about it, that’s just the way it should be.

 

High school-themed movies fall into two categories. Most are about getting laid, but others, like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, are about anything else that high school kids could possibly go through.

Nick (Michael Cera) is in the middle of a much-needed “mental health day,” trying to recover from getting dumped by his girlfriend of six months. He’s prepared to spend the day moping and making mix CDs for her, but then his bandmates convince him to play a gig that night. It isn’t long before Nick meets Norah (Kat Dennings), and an all-nighter through the streets and clubs of New York City begins.

I wish I could tell you what happens in Nick & Norah, but I can’t. See, nothing really happens in the film, and yet, the characters manage to do a lot of stuff. It’s very Seinfeldian that way. And, once I thought about it, that’s just the way it should be. Most teenagers live for nights like the one Nick and Norah have: You head out with your buddies to have a good time and madness ensues.

The filmmakers have crafted a perfect teenagers-after-dark adventure. Nick & Norah has cool, cutting-edge music, (unbelievably) drunken friends, some ex-girlfriends, some future girlfriends, faux kidnappings, vomit, and a wee bit of sex. You just can’t beat a night like that.

As often happens in movies, some things might make you question the reality of the world these characters inhabit. Has anyone ever been that drunk? Would a smart girl like Norah really put up with her ass of an ex? Do mean-spirited hotties actually give geek-boys the time of day? Is it possible that a Yugo would still run in this day and age?

The thing to remember is that the answers don’t much matter. Like most teen films, Nick & Norah is part fantasy. It’s about having that one wild night to remember when you should have been in your room doing homework. This isn’t the place for horror stories about what would truly happen if you ran around a big city in the middle of the night, hungover, penniless and alone.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist owes its considerable charm to leads Cera and Dennings. For her part, Dennings managed to nail the too-smart-for-other-teens, ready to move on, slightly unsure of herself Norah. And Cera? Well, he needs no introduction as the quietly funny, geeky guy for whom things always seem to go wrong. After Juno and Superbad, we all know he can play this type expertly. If he doesn’t watch out, though, Cera could find himself playing progressively older versions of George Michael Bluth (from TV’s Arrested Development) for the rest of his life | Adrienne Jones
 

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