Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist - Review

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist

So it turns out that while I was watching Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, my roommates were repeatedly calling me to join them directly afterwards to watch Max Payne in the same theater. I didn't get the message. Yet, somehow, between the two movies, one focused on teen romance and one focused on a non-stop killing spree, I'm fairly certain that Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist remains the more rewarding of the two.

This latest teen joy-ride stars Michael Cera and Kat Dennings respectively as Nick and Nora, two high-school students who, despite being in the same circle of friends, have somehow never met. Nick has just been dumped by his trashy, "How did he ever go out with that girl in the first place" girlfriend. Naturally, after Nora unwittingly gives Nick a kiss of passion to stick it to his ex, the two are pushed together by Nick's friends, a group of homosexual teens riding in a van. Click click, match match.

By this point I wasn't entirely confident in the film. I didn't feel as though I was watching a group of teens as much as I was watching what a collection of concerned parents would imagine their teens to be like on a night out, or, more importantly, how MTV would like teens to be like on a night out. Somehow, and I could be wrong in this, I found the van full of gay boys to be a charming, but unrealistic portrayal of the younger homosexual community, the teens non-stop night drive without a single parental influence (call, run-in, or mention) to be an apparent ideal, but also a completely unrealistic occurrence, and the kids apparent ability to get ahold of alcohol so easily somewhat surprising. Maybe it's just New York, but I doubted it would ever turn out like this.

However, eventually that doubt began to wain. Eventually I began to grasp the over-active stimulus as just part of the unique universe of Nick and Nora. Really, this is all due to the characters, who manage to be thoroughly likable despite what our interactions with the real-life versions may be. In reality, they're hipsters. They pride themselves on the bands they "discovered," and avoid the popular trends that hit mainstream. Throughout their night journey they track down clues to find a mysterious band named "Where's Fluffy?" a group so popular that apparently every level of the high-school hierarchy is obsessed with their music. Again, I kind of doubt this. Indie-bands remain so for their decidedly select appeal. Let's be honest here, no matter how much they should, not everyone loves Devendra Banhart (who actually have a fantastic cameo). Still, as a narrative device it keeps them moving, and when push comes to shove their shift in priorities begins to reveal enjoyable, charming, and undeniably sweet characters. I liked the time I spent with them.

They don't quite have the charming innocence of Ferris Bueller (there is a gut-wrenching scene involving a toilet and a piece of gum), but towards the end Nick and Norah actually manage to find a sense of relational profundity. It exceeded my expectations, however admittedly low they were, and replaced my doubt in the hipster crowd (which I might very well be part of) with an assurance of the bonds between people. I eventually didn't feel as though Nick and Nora were more "matched" than they actually fit, and it felt right. For the sake of the moral purity of middle-school kids and teens (if there is such a thing) I probably wouldn't recommend it. I think I'm going to want my future kids to at least call me before they go to a gay Christmas pageant to retrieve their drunk friend. For the rest of you though, who actually can remember some of the indie-bands mentioned, I say you give it a go.


Beth said...

actually, the band was Where's Fluffy? i do believe and the cameo was Devendra Banhart. close. so close.

Zack Newcott said...

DAMN! Fooled again! So much for my street cred. Should I make an edit?

Zack Newcott said...

I went ahead and made the edit anyway.
Devendra, Of Montreal, apples and oranges I say. Apples and oranges.

Beth said...

hairy apples. spandex oranges.

Bradley Clarke said...

you just called yourself a hipster.