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Youth in Revolt(2009)
Nick Twisp, a teen with a taste for the finer things in life like Sinatra and Fellini, falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful, free-spirited Sheeni Saunders while on a family vacation. But family, geography and jealous ex-lovers conspire to keep these two apart. Nick abandons his dull, predictable life and develops a rebellious alter ego: François. With his ascot, his moustache and his cigarette, François will stop at nothing to be with Sheeni, and leads Nick on a path of destruction with unpredictable consequences.
For more about Youth in Revolt and the Youth in Revolt Blu-ray release, see Youth in Revolt Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 26, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Justin Long, Ray Liotta, Steve Buscemi, Rooney Mara
Director: Miguel Arteta
» See full cast & crew
Youth in Revolt Blu-ray Review
Michael Cera plays both Michael Cera and a cigarette-smoking Frenchman with a mustache and an uncanny resemblance to Michael Cera.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 26, 2010
My one and only love needs me to be bad.
It's that time again. Another Michael Cera film has found its way onto celluloid, this one -- again -- featuring Hollywood's latest golden child playing the same character he always portrays, but with a twist. He's a lovably shy and babe-less dweeb, the sort one would expect to wear a "kick me" sign on his back all the way through high school, a guy that's all brains and no brawn and, perhaps most importantly, shy a backbone. That all changes in Youth in Revolt -- sort of. Cera does indeed play Cera, but in tow is an alter ego that fills in those gaps and turns him into a hybrid human being that's two parts aw-shucks Jimmy Stewart and one part James Dean rebel, if James Dean were a mustache-wearing, cigarette-smoking Frenchman, that is. Unfortunately, Youth in Revolt doesn't escape that Michael Cera vibe, even for all its efforts to allow the actor to play somebody else. There's just something about all the Cera movies; despite different characters and changing stories, they all look, feel, sound, and seem to play out with very little in the way of substantial tonal differences. Youth in Revolt is no different; even the dual Ceras don't seem all that different beyond the superficialities, and the result is an uneven picture's that's sometimes funny, occasionally boring, and Michael Cera through and through.
Teenager Nick Twisp (Cera) is like most other guys his age: he's got a lusting for girls, but that's pretty much where the similarities begin and end. Unlike the high school jocks who watch The Hills Have Eyes 2 and actually get the girl, Nick watches foreign films from the Criterion Collection, listens to Frank Sinatra, and, yes, he's still a virgin. When his mother's boyfriend is forced to flee from a trio of angry sailors over a botched used car sale, the makeshift family heads off on an impromptu vacation to Clear Lake and the cozy confines of a run-down trailer. Like it was meant to be, Nick immediately meets the lovely Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) who happens to like foreign films, listens to old music on vinyl, and shuns her parents' hardcore religious beliefs. It's not long before Nick makes it to second base, but he's denied a round-tripper when his mom and her boyfriend decide it's time to go back home. Nick and Sheeni devise a scheme to ensure his return, a scheme that involves Nick dropping his clean-cut persona in favor of a make-believe alter ego who's everything Nick isn't: confident, strong, quick to retort, unafraid to speak his mind, and most importantly, a rebel with a cause: sex. With Nick Twisp successfully transformed into Francois Dillinger (also played by Cera), it's only a matter of time before the two lovebirds will be reunited -- assuming there are no unintended consequences along the way back to Clear Lake.
Maybe it's time to just make "Michael Cera" a genre unto itself -- kind of like an "Arnold movie." Indeed, Schwarzenegger never could escape his persona even though he branched out into several different genres and with great success; whether playing a futuristic cyborg, a skilled soldier, a man with an identity crisis, an ancient warrior, a kindergarten teacher, or a pregnant man, his pictures always seemed to capture similar vibes due in large part to the Austrian Oak's unmistakable personality. Likewise, Cera seems like a one-trick pony if the characters he plays in every film are any indication. Whether Juno, Year One, or Youth in Revolt, Cera's become heavily typecast and mostly within a singular genre, but at least he does his schtick well. Cera's character in Youth in Revolt captures the exact same vibes, mannerisms, and speech patterns that he's shown in every other picture he's made. Substitute his character from Paper Heart into Juno or his character from Superbad into Youth in Revolt, and general audiences probably wouldn't notice. Fortunately, Cera's got this routine down pat, so down pat that his alter ego in Youth in Revolt doesn't really work. A different actor in the alter ego role would have worked much better, as it has in other movies of recent vintage; here, Cera's alter ego is, well, Cera, only with a mustache and a cigarette. He's less stiff in his movements and he manages to change his cadence, but otherwise, it's little more than a costume change, and not even as dramatic as the transformation in something like She's All That. The remainder of the cast falls under Cera's dual shadows, but relative newcomers Portia Doubleday and Adhir Kalyan and an all-star roster of Hollywood veterans in Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Ray Liotta, Justin Long, and M. Emmet Walsh alike all turn in solid performances.
Cera's cookie-cutter character aside, Youth in Revolt takes two old concepts -- it's like American Pie meets Fight Club -- and meshes them together with only occasionally successful results. One of the picture's greatest downfalls lies in its inability to craft likable, relatable, or complexly-woven characters; like the film itself, they seem like amalgamations built from the quirky-movie spare parts bin. Cera's is obviously unoriginal at best, and the rest of the characters are shallow, one-dimensional façades that do little more than fill a gap in the screenplay. Characterization takes a back seat to humor, and even the picture's jokes fall flat just as often as they work. To its credit, Youth in Revolt tries to find some middle ground between genre conventions, forgoing the excessive raunchiness of some pictures but going well beyond the limitations of family-friendly fare. Additionally, Youth in Revolt has a somewhat choppy feel to it; even coming in at about 90 minutes, there are several slow stretches that add little value to the film or in any way help tell the story. Fortunately, the special effects are so seamless that they never register in the mind as "special effects." Those scenes featuring two Michael Cera's are positively seamless; it's just unfortunate that "Good Cera" and "Bad Cera" both manage to come across as "Michael Cera."
Youth in Revolt Blu-ray, Video Quality
Youth in Revolt debuts onto Blu-ray with another quality 1080p transfer from Sony. This 1.85:1-framed movie boasts a slightly warm color palette in the seemingly now-traditional Comedy style; flesh tones in particular feature a push towards a pale red shade, but colors are nevertheless pleasant and nicely rendered, whether bright green foliage, blue school lockers, or any of the other many hues found in this abundantly colorful film. Additionally, fine detail is strong across the board; viewers will note even the smallest of pores on faces, while everyday objects -- sand, the lines and creases in a backyard tent, seams in clothing, or any number of objects scattered about the film, even those not around center-frame -- boast a rich, lifelike texture and retain an impeccable clarity that really shows off the strengths of the 1080p transfer and high definition presentation. Black levels are deep and honest, but a few scenes fall victim to uneven color gradations, and the film occasionally sports a slightly flat look. Otherwise, Youth in Revolt looks good, its Blu-ray presentation accentuated by a thin veneer of film grain. Fans and videophiles alike will be pleased with another strong effort from Sony.
Youth in Revolt Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Youth in Revolt doesn't go bad as far as its audio presentation is concerned. Sony's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack isn't the stuff of Blu-ray legend, but it's a good, high quality listen that does all this Comedy asks of it. A good heft and sense of space accompanies the film's music, from the opening titles until the end credits. Indeed, the film earns most of its bass from various tunes heard throughout the film but also via a vehicle crash and a subsequent explosion as heard in chapter seven. The track delivers quality environmental ambience throughout, often playing as subdued but occasionally more pronounced; light winds, chirping insects, and various other sounds effortlessly penetrate into the listening area to create a pleasing atmosphere for several varied locales. For the most part, however, Youth in Revolt is a dialogue-driven film, and Sony's DTS presentation succinctly delivers every syllable. Home theater stores won't be using Youth in Revolt over 2012 for sonic demonstration purposes, but this is nevertheless a strongly-realized soundtrack in context.
Youth in Revolt Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Youth in Revolt arrives on Blu-ray with a few scattered extras, this collection headlined by an audio commentary track with Director Miguel Arteta and Actor Michael Cera. The track is fine, easygoing, but not all that deep or relevant. Discussions primarily revolve around the many anecdotes the two recall from the shoot, but there are also discussions on the quality of the cast, shooting locations, and more. Fans of the film will get the most out of this track; those looking for a more in-depth examination of the technical aspects of the shoot will want to pass on this one. Next is a series of nine deleted scenes (1080p, 10:48); five deleted and extended animated sequences (1080p, 7:11); and audition footage (480p) featuring Portia Doubleday (2:09), Zach Galifianakis (1:16), Erik Knudsen (2:35), Jonathan B. Wright (2:01), and Adhir Kalyan (1:20). Also included is BD-Live functionality; Sony's MovieIQ connectivity; and 1080p trailers for A Single Man, Chloe, The Runaways, A Prophet, The Bounty Hunter, and Harry Brown.
Youth in Revolt Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Twice the Michael Cera for the price of a single ticket. That's Youth in Revolt in a nutshell; it's got two times the Cera but it's still pretty much the same movie that his fans have seen several times before, and he plays the same character that he's played in those same movies. Fortunately, he's good at what he does, but dollars to donuts says that if he doesn't branch out in his next few films, people will tire of paying to see the same thing in every movie he makes, putting his acting career in jeopardy. It's clear that several of his movies have been built around the persona, and while Arnold could get away with it -- namely by branching out into different styles, from hardcore Action to lighthearted Comedy, from thought-provoking Science Fiction to Fantasy warrior -- it remains to be seen if Cera's career will follow suit. Regardless, Michael Cera fans can rest assured that Sony's Blu-ray release of Youth in Revolt is of a high quality. Boasting a handsome 1080p transfer, a good lossless soundtrack, and a few extras, fans can buy with confidence, and others won't feel cheated out of the price of a rental.
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Youth in Revolt Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Youth in Revolt Blu-ray Announced - April 12, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of the Weinstein Company/Dimension Films production Youth in Revolt on June 15. This coming-of-age comedy, based on a 1993 epistolary novel, stars Michael Cera as a teenager who develops a rebellious ...
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