When I was on the set of "Year One," I had a chance to chat with Michael Cera about other things he was considering as a follow-up film. "Scott Pilgrim" rumors were circulating at that point, and although he was still only in the negotiation stage, we spent a good deal of time talking about C.D. Payne's trilogy of comic novels published collectively as Youth In Revolt.
One thing was clear after our conversation: those books are important to Cera, just as they've been important to a huge number of readers in the years since they were first published, and the only way Michael wanted to be involved was if he could do justice to the book he was so obviously loved.
The good news for other fans of the book is that Miguel Arteta's film version may not be 100% true to the book in terms of every single event, but it absolutely nails it in spirit. When the trailer for the film was released, I was worried that this blisteringly dirty and hilarious book had been neutered. Truth is, that trailer does a great job of making a genuinely funny and even insightful film look like a giant pile of crap. Well played, Weinstein Company. Well played.
There's nothing new about the underlying premise of the film: a young man is desperate to get laid, and he goes to outrageous lengths to make it happen. There's an entire genre dedicated to that plot, and "Youth In Revolt" does little to reinvent things. The appeal here is the character work and the darker-than-average sense of humor, and that's where fans of Nick Twisp are going to feel well-served.
Nick Twisp (Cera) is a fairly average teenage boy, smart and struggling to define his own personality and cripplingly horny with no foreseeable way to resolve that in the near future. He lives with his divorced mother Estelle (Jean Smart) and whichever loser she happens to be banging. As the film begins, the lucky scumbag is Jerry (Zach Galafianakis), who has a bad habit of totally cheating sailors by selling them crappy used cars. When one particular bad deal goes worse than normal, they have to take a "vacation" to a remote trailer park for a few weeks until things blow over.
Enter Sheeni Saunders.
[more after the jump]