Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
dir Peter Sollett
scr Lorene Scafaria
with Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Aaron Yoo, Rafi Gavron, Ari Graynor, Alexis Dziena, Jay Baruchel, Jonathan Bradford Wright, Zachary Booth, John Cho, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Kevin Corrigan
release US 3.Oct.08, UK 30.Jan.09
08/US Mandate 1h30

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
Too much to drink: Cera, Graynor and Dennings

yoo gavron baruchel
London film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Cute and funny, but straining to be this year's Juno (complete with the same lead actor), this romantic romp is enjoyable and sweetly engaging, but never quite feels honest about its characters or situations.

Long after the break-up, Nick (Cera) continues to send mix-discs to his ex-girlfriend Tris (Dziena); he's just sent her Road to Closure Vol 12. But it's actually Tris' friend Norah (Dennings) who's enjoying the CDs, and on one night out, she runs into Nick while he's playing with his bandmate pals (Yoo and Gavron) in a New York City bar. Then Norah loses her drunken friend Caroline (Graynor), and soon everyone is scouring the city for her, as well as trying to guess the venue for their favourite band's next secret gig.

Over the course of this long, eventful night, Nick and Norah of course bond deeply, discovering a kindred love for music while trying to get over their tortured relational pasts. Nick must free himself from the lying, cheating Tris, while Norah's needs to see the truth about her "friend with benefits" Tal (Baruchel). Yes, there's nothing particularly surprising at the end of this all-night odyssey, but getting there rather good fun. And the film is packed with snappy dialog, goofy running gags and loads of achingly cool indie music.

The comical mayhem is pretty nonstop, from Nick's unreliable Yugo to Caroline's far-too-well-travelled wad of gum. The characters are all fast-talking and a little hyperactive, and as it progresses the amour fou gets seriously messy, as everyone seems to be chasing the wrong person. Throughout this, the filmmakers are far too knowing about all of this crazy stuff, and they continually force the characters into situations that aren't particularly believable.

This doesn't make the film less engaging; the likeable cast members give strong, although not particularly demanding, performances that keep us thoroughly hooked. There's a terrific sense here of young people who haven't quite figured out their own lives yet. And even if the dialog feels like a carefully calculated concoction of biting sarcasm and gross-out goofiness, some viewers will still fall completely for the adorable romance and musical charm.

cert 12 themes, language, innnuendo 14.Oct.08 lff

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© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall