Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist
Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Alexis Dziena, Ari Graynor and Jay Baruschel

Rated: PG-13 mature thematic material including teen drinking, sexuality, language and crude behavior
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 3, 2008 Released by: Columbia TriStar

There's some somnambulistic appeal to Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist which conjures up memories of films like Sixteen Candles, American Graffiti, and Before Sunset.

Starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, this nicely scored production around Manhattan and the Lower East Side will also probably draw mention of the former's other pics, Superbad and Juno. Too bad the writing isn't nearly as sharp as the latter, but the logic here winsomely identifies with a youth-oriented audience that's self-conscious and a little hip.

In his refined reserved and hesitant manner, Cera is high-schooler Nick who enjoys the indie rock scene having some ability as an alternative rock bassist for the almost all-gay group "The Jerk-Offs". He still is mixing CDs for his ex-girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena).

Dennings' ingenuous Norah apparently has been looking for love in all the wrong places while strongly disliking the shrewish Tris. But, she is rather fond of the individual (or at least the music taste) who mixes the CDs for her.

Much allure is brought to the Big Apple by Peter Sollett who made the affecting, grittier Raising Victor Vargas. Lorene Scafaria adapts the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan with the possibility of serendipity and little complication. The title characters meet with the requisite suspicions and dislike, at least for a while. The rather brief running time has Nick and Norah together and apart for awhile as they are on a quest to see an impromptu late-night performance of "Where's Fluffy".

Around Norah, there's a scene-stealing Ari Graynor as party-hearty friend Caroline who has a gross-out moment in the Port Authority Bus Terminal in a restroom retrieval. Jay Baruschel from Knocked Up and Tropic Thunder as Tal looks for the right opening to get back with Norah.

Their taste in music seems to be the most Nick and Norah have common, as the former has a yellow Yugo that many think is a cab, and the latter is known by every nightclub doorman. Though its tone wavers too much and maybe needs more of an energy boost, there still is something that Cera and Dennings create together here in honing their disposition to their craft. It also helps that Infinite Playlist plays as a warm travelogue with a pretty cool soundtrack, which also worked for Graffiti.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist  B      B      A-   A+         A- 

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