Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nick and Norah's Finite Playlist

Despite being a perfect date movie, this film is a desperate combination of Juno and Afterhours, pegging itself into the demographic still stuck on The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, directed by Peter Sollet and written by Lorene Scafaria, is based on the book of the same title by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The story of high school seniors who go out one fateful weekend night in Brooklyn, searching for a secret surprise show for their favorite underground indie band known as Where's Fluffy?, is an attempt at capitalizing off of the success of Juno, the quirky indie hipsters guilty pleasure and box office dark horse of last year.

Michael Cera does an excellent job at being his awkward self. It appears as though he's forever caught in that type casted trap and will become the Ben Stiller of the burgeoning ultra-awkward indie dramedy genre. Kat Dennings tries to pull off an Ellen Page with boobs but can't quite cut the sarcasm and acting chops required to make the pairing work. Although the stage is taken by the immaculate and hilarious performance of Ari Graynor as Norah's Drunk Best Friend

The script by Scafaria is full of Diablo Cody-esque dialogue that often times overruns the basis of all writing: conflict. Too many scenes were acted out without a conflict, climax, or resolution. And the static conflict of awkwardness, albeit popular and cute, is a common mistake amongst writers. Creativity is being able to compose all the required elements of an art form into an original work. Cody had it with Juno and Woody Allen invented it before her. Adapting Nick and Norah was not the best choice.

Furthermore, the similarities to Juno and other works of art found in the canon of the quirky, teenage, socially awkward, indy kid tells me that this was a project done out of exploitation of a demographic that has risen to mainstream attention. This rise in power is in part of the efforts of the few mentioned before, Cody, Perks of Being a Wallflower and the like, and there true efforts of just making a GOOD movie to the best of their abilities. The focus of this movie is so greatly embellished in the way the characters are that Nick's character arch is barely discernible at the end of the script and Norah's isn't even there.

Too much focus on what made the great movies it draws inspiration from popular and not enough on what ACTUALLY made them great movies.

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