Sunday, October 19, 2008


NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST is a charming romantic comedy about two music geeks who fall for each other over a night running around New York City looking for a secret gig. Yes, they both have toxic ex-es, but finally they stop being cute and get down to it so that we can all go home, our cockles warmed and what-not. It's not unentertaining, although the laughs are thinner than they should be, way too dependent on gross-out toilet humour, and the romance is incredibly forced. Such are the pitfalls of the genre.

NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST is also a movie that, upon consideration, I think I despise. Everything about it is contrived to suck up whatever droplets of cool remain in the hipster movement and spit them out in bland commercial form for the mass market. I knew it was over for the indie rock movement when THE O.C. started merchandising mix CDs of Modest Mouse. This movie tries to ride the crest of the wave that combined the runaway success of JUNO and VAMPIRE WEEKEND but crashes on the roadblock of its own hypocrisy.

The movie opens with animated credits that are so desperate to be this year's JUNO it's painful to watch. And then we dive into the meet cute. Michael Cera plays the typical Michael Cera character - Nick - a nice guy geek who's being treated woefully by his domineering girlfriend (the disturbingly baby-faced Alexis Dziena). He makes her ueber-cool mix-CDs. She tosses them. Her friend Norah (Kat Dennings) picks them up. When Norah finally meets Nick his gay best friends put her in a wonderbra and wish her luck. We then get an hour of nonsense (but no actual discussion of cool bands, natch!) Clearly these characters are designed to be together and their ex'es are so godawful that there's no dramatic tension at all. When they do get together we get the most absurd sex scene in recent cinema. It takes place in a recording studio where Nick has the temerity to accuse Norah's dad of being a "hippie turned yuppie the mass market."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Especially when you consider that the guy who directed this film started out making genuinely gritty indie movies like RAISING VICTOR VARGAS.

NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST played Toronto and London 20078. It is currently on release in the US and opens in Iceland on December 5th. It opens on January 22nd in Australia and Germany; it opens in the UK on January 30th; in opens on February 13th in Italy; on February 20th in Finland and Sweden; on February 27th in Denmark; on March 4th in Belgium, Egypt, Argentina and the Netherlands and on March 11th in France.

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