Youth in Revolt (2009) – Film Review

youth in revolt movie review

Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Ray Liota
Certificate: 15

by Matt Callard

CD Payne’s 500 plus pages cult novel doesn’t exactly lend itself toward obvious cinematic conversion. It is cram full of insatiable early-teen sexual urges, drug abuse, cross-dressing, gay sex and a massive array of OTT supporting characters.

So it’s no surprise to see the writers of Youth in Revolt take a tactical side-step and pitch the movie in the Superbad teen farce vein. Although that does this nimble little comedy a disservice. It comes much closer in tone to last year’s excellent sad/funny coming-of-age drama Adventureland.

Michael Cera (Nick) at last breaks free of his mild-mannered, smarter-than-the-average-bear persona. But only because he plays a dual role. His alter-ego Francois is a mustachioed projection of Nick’s lascivious imagination. He oozes callous disregard for anything except his own libido.

youth in revolt Film Review dog

“An excess of ideas and ambition”

It’s a funny device that works well. Especially when Nick meets the verbal Sheeni (a star-making turn from debutant Portia Doubleday) and becomes obsessed with winning her at any cost.

Packed with neat, stylistic dialogue, laudably outsize scenes and a masterful comic range from the sensitive to the surreal. Youth in Revolt might be a little too clever-clever for its own good at times but, at least, here’s a film with an excess of ideas and ambition, rather than a dearth.


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.