I saw "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" this weekend. This was more out of necessity than actual interest, owing to the fact that there isn't much of note playing in theaters. I can't wait for the spectacle that will be "W" and I still want to see "Man on Wire," but come Sunday afternoon, it was "Nick and Norah."
To me, when I hear Nick and Norah I think of the company that makes cutesy pajamas and housewares, like the fabulous cloud comforter I had in college (please see this craigslist ad.) And when you see the poster for Nick and Norah with the handwritten block letters and Michael Cera, you can't help but think of Juno. I'm not sure if either of these is a good thing.
Let me admit that I was game for this movie. The trailer suckered me and I thought I would secretly be swooning for the teenage angst and indie pop soundtrack. So when I found myself bored AND rolling my eyes, I knew that was a bad sign.
First of all, the villain, the total hottie who previously broke Nick's heart, is more of a troll than a babe. I recognized her from "Fool's Gold" (not my finest hour) where she was similarly miscast as a hot socialite. This girl is pretty, but she's kind of weird looking. And my boyfriend pointed out that she has brown teeth! How can the "hot girl" in the movie have BROWN TEETH?!?!? Which leads me to my point...Norah is a total cutie. She looks like 2/3 Gwen Stefani plus a dash of Hilary Duff. She's adorable! So it's completely implausible that this chick is supposed to feel threatened by the troll, whose character's name is TRISS (props to the writer for the most annoying name. ever.) Kat Dennings (Norah) just isn't convincing when she says she'll never compare to Triss. Or when she's afraid to take off her sports bra. (As a side note, can anyone explain why the gay band's tour van is complete with a box of bras?)
I hate seeing fake insecurity on screen and I hate when it comes about because some girl, obviously cast in the lead role because she's really pretty, is put up against someone "prettier" who is really just second rate. All those stupid tween movies like "She's All That" and "10 Things I Hate About You" have these very pretty girls/women in the roles of the ugly/loser/outcast freaks. It's so obvious they're going to have their revelatory "I'm a pretty girl" scene. Or why can't they just cast truly beautiful people as their arch rivals to prove this point?
I'm going further. Sorry. In the BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice," Elizabeth Bennett, played by a lovely Jennifer Ehle, always feels she can't hold a candle to the incomparably beautiful Jane, her older sister. Well this whole concept doesn't hold water because the woman they cast for Jane looks like a man in drag. Okay, this is probably incredibly harsh but it's distracting to watch when Eliza Bennett goes on about how good and beautiful her sister is. And then you see her: BIG JANE. At least the '05 film version got it right by casting Rosamund Pike who is undeniably pretty. Here's a side by side comparison:
In defense of the other tween movies, and even, I guess, Nick and Norah, sometimes it isn't the pretty girls who are "pretty" in high school. Popularity, and hence attractiveness does come about in strange ways during the teenage years...
Back to the actual movie. There's not much more to say. The random orgasm plot ripped from "American Pie" (the Weitz brothers are producers on the film, interesting...) seemed so tacked on and the resolution was quite laughable. I don't want to ruin it for those of you who still want to see the movie. But that Nick has some magic hands! Oh, and back to the Weitz brothers. I guess we have them to thank for some other random gross out scenes and the never-ending gum?
The best part of the film is the drunk friend for not only being very funny and convincing, but for paying homage to that other lost friend in a bus station: Penelope Ann Miller in "Adventures in Babysitting." I think Nick and Norah could have taken a lesson from that film. Make the stakes higher. The audience doesn't give a shit about Fluffy. And apparently, by the way the film ends, neither do the characters. Now on the other hand if your best friend was stuck in a bus station and Thor was on your tail? Smells like a classic to me.