Maybe it's because I had a girlfriend in high school who I would have killed for. Maybe it's because I was that outcast who watched black and white films and listened to world music. Maybe it's because, in my head, I would create movie-like scenarios when I would upstage the cool kids with my acerbic wit and get my girl to get back together with me after we broke up. Maybe it's all of the above. Whatever the reason, I really connected with YOUTH IN REVOLT.
The Miguel Arteta directed adaptation of C.D. Payne's novel about the teenage trials of Nick Twisp (whose name alone would be enough to incur ridicule) could easily have become an overly wacky teenage sex romp. After all, books this acerbic tend to get whitewashed in translation to film, or at least made more audience friendly. The movie, however, sticks with the most important aspect of the book and plays it up: we've all been that awkward teenager who just wanted to find someone to be with, whether for the night or for a lifetime. By sticking with this, we'll stick with Nick and his cool alter-ego Francois Dillinger as they go on a rampage of mayhem and destruction, because at the core, he's doing this for the one thing we all crave: attention.
It also helps that this movie stars Michael Cera. At this point in his career, Michael Cera has perfected the art of playing Michael Cera. Some people might complain that he's the same in everything he does, and this is true. But until he grows up enough to where the awkward teenager doesn't work anymore, he'll still have the market cornered on it. No one plays uncomfortable as well as Cera does. He also gets to play his exact opposite in Francois, and it works perfectly. Having a persona drilled into our heads with Arrested Development, Superbad and Juno allows Cera to surprise us at every turn with Francois. It's awesome to watch him have so much fun.
YOUTH IN REVOLT is not a perfect movie. It's an adaptation, and I inherently have problems with adaptations for what I can tell was left out. However, there's enough to like about this movie that I wouild recommend it. We've all been teenagers, and we've all wanted to live out our fantasies. This film, to a certain extent, let's us do that.