Youth in Revolt, a 2009 film based on the novel by C.D. Payne, works as a love story, a coming-of-age flick and most of all as an indie comedy. The plot revolves around a lovelorn teenager named Nick (Michael Vera) and the lengths to which he will go to win the girl of his dreams.
Reminiscent at times of Fight Club, and other times of This is Earl, a few moments try too hard for the laugh but fall short. Nonetheless, there are moments of utter hilarity.
Fred Willard in particular steals the show with his brilliant cameo, Jean Smart takes her character to the limit, and British actor Adhir Kalyan has the comic timing to make the most of the bizarre situations in which his character becomes embroiled.
The film will be highly recognizable in years to come as part of a distinct genre of films. The angst-filled teenagers speak in a style that is a bit too quick and erudite for their age. Although it is refreshing to see a film return to that Katherine Hepburn-Cary Grant witty romantic banter.
Not only is Michael Cera the current loveable awkward brainy dork of the moment, but the entire movie is set in a strange timeless period established by films like Juno and Napoleon Dynamite. Wood paneling, shag carpets, bad clothes and bitchin Cameros take us back to the 70s. No one has a computer or uses a cell phone. But at one point Nick, Michael Cera’s character in Youth in revolt, bemoans his lack of a cell phone.
Anachronistic styling aside, you will love this trashy land of trailer parks, hi-jinks and well-placed animation. It’s definitely worth a look.