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This week:
Youth in Revolt

Filthy says:
"How many fucking times is Michael Cera going to come of age?"

There seem to be more teen virgins in the movies who wear on their shirt sleeves than in reality. Unlike in real life, they're usually heroes. When I was a teenager, there may have been a few virgins, but they pretty much kept that information to themselves as long as they possibly could. The ones who didn't were the assholes who handed out Art Chick tracts or bent the curve in science class. Contrary to popular belief, they weren't the meek who would inherit the earth. Now, all that saving themselves didn't amount to a God damn hill of beans, except those people are even more bitter for getting the crap beat out of them for not having porking earlier.

When I was twelve, I saw the hell on earth that was coming for teen virgins. That's why I took the first opportunity I had to get my cherry popped. It was with a pinochle partner of my grandmother's. An elderly woman, I admit, but she always wore attractive polyester pantsuits. Plus, she had experience. I didn't know when she asked me to water her garden while she was on vacation that 1) she wasn't going on vacation, 2) she had recently fallen in the bath and suffered severe brain trauma, and 3) she was married.

Losing my virginity was horrific, painful and sad. I had no idea that fifty years f experience could make someone so dirty, and I didn't expect there to be all that blood. Still, avoiding virginity ultimately only cost me eight months of counseling and the recurring nightmare of having my head shoved into an oven where crackers are kept to stay crisp. That, and after she died, her husband moved on to our street to live ten more years, so I had to spend a decade riding my bike the long way around to the liquor store to avoid him. Once the therapy was over and my suicidal thoughts had subsided to normal levels, though, I held my head up high on campus and declared, with honesty, that I had had sex, with a woman. And I would kick the ass of anyone who hadn't. Except the girls.

I proudly mention that I have had sex because I am still proud, and I bring it up all the time to new acquaintances. Also, Youth in Revolt is another coming-of-age teen comedy about a kid who ýcomes of ageţ by coming inside a girl. Nobody ever comes of age by killing a mastodon anymore. Michael Cera, eternal dorky teen, plays Nick Twisp, a geeky intellectual into reading and listening to Frank Sinatra records. Those details are boilerplate "edgy and unwittingly hip" teenager. He lives with a trashy mom (Jean Smart) who likes sloppy, unkind men. When his mom's current boyfriend (Zack Galifianakis) rips off some sailors, the family must hide out in a mobile home park for a week. In the park, Cera meets Portia Doubleday, the bad girl daughter of strict Christian parents. Actually, she's not so much bad as she is drawn to bad boys. Or so Cera believes, anyway. She loves Serge Gainsbourg records and anything else French. One thing I have learned in my time on earth is to avoid any native English speaker who claims to love Serge Gainsbourg. Those people might as well just peel back their skin and show you how full of shit they are.

To win Doubleday, milquetoast Cera invents an alter ego. It's not quite an id, but it's the pointy-headed kid's idea of a rebel: a cigarette-smoking version of himself in white loafers and trousers. Much like what my first lover's husband wore. The later ego convinces Cera to smash records and burn down Berkeley. Good lord, can you imagine if that happened in real life? The entire state of California would be forever poisoned with the smell of burnt hair and patchouli oil.

Cera believes he can't live without Doubleday. With his alter ego, he schemes to be near her. When she is sent to French boarding school, Cera steals a car to visit her, and later plots to get her expelled. He smokes pot, eats psychedelic mushrooms and steals another car in the hopes of finally sticking his filthy dick inside her. By the way, I don't know for a fact that Cera's dick is filthy. I'm taking his word for it.

Youth in Revolt feels a shitload like it was made in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I haven't been to Brooklyn in several years, but I keep hearing it is overrun by stereotyped hoodied hipsters who pretend to be low-fi, into indie rock, but who will ultimately get married, get shitty jobs, get overprotective about their kids and turn Williamsburg into a yuppie hell. In other words, it's a place where people think a hoodie and vinyl records are the same thing as a personality. This movie is similar. It is made up of touchstones of fey, faux-nerd hipsterisms than don't expose anything true.

What's supposed to make Youth in Revolt different from every other teen comedy is that Cera plays two characters: himself and his dangerous alter ego. Too bad his alter ego is just same as every other teen comedy's wacky sidekick. You know, the ýbest friendţ who gives bad, outrageous advice. Here, he's still a lot like Cera. That is, pretty sleepy, low on charisma and looking a lot like the kids coming and going from the chemo lab around the corner from my apartment. In Youth in Revolt we get a low-energy protagonist and a low-energy chorus.

The problem is Cera's got no range. He's pretty much the same guy in either role, except he says dirty words and has better one-liners as the toughie. His character's lot in life isn't that different than a shitload of teen comedy movies that came before either. He is in love with a girl he thinks is out of his league, so he must reinvent himself to win her heart. His success will be measured by whether he pos his cherry. And in the end he must confess who he truly is, and guess what? She likes him anyway!

Youth in Revolt annoyed me in how much ground it covered with this basic and overdone plot. I mean literal ground. From Oakland to Ukiah, down to Santa Cruz and back to Ukiah, with a new band of characters in each locale. So many actors and their roles are completely wasted. In particular, what's the deal with Zack Galifianakis? He gets a lot of parts in movies, but few of them know what the fuck to do with him. Hey Hollywood grassfuckers, just putting the guy in your movie doesn't make it cool and edgy. You have to actually give him something funny to do. Justin Long is similarly mistreated in a dead-end role as a drug-taking, past-life believer. Steve Buscemi gets short shrift as Cera's father. Why the hell have great character actors in the movie if you don't know what the fuck to do with them?

Briefly, Adhir Kalyan becomes Cera's best friend, goes on a road trip with him, experiences hijinks and then disappears completely. Doubleday's ex-boyfriend briefly appears and, without irony, looks to be the preppie villain from every John Hughes movies. I expected a movie that wanted to be hip and indie-feeling to come up with a more interesting foil than a dude from Haircut 100. He could have turned out to be a much better guy than Cera always thought. He could have been in a wheelchair, or a Hells Angel with a sensitive streak. Director Miguel Arteta and writer Gustin Nash could have give the story moral ambiguity.

But no. Youth in Revolt isn't interested in being edgy or different. That's too much trouble. It's just the same old shit with a better soundtrack and hipper cast. Maybe we won't notice. Two Fingers.

Want to tell Filthy Something?

 

 




Mark S Allen of KMAX-TV

Leap Year is "The perfect movie for the season. Fun, funny and full of good cheer!"



Filthy's Reading
Jeff Kinney - Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Rodrick Rules

Listening to
The Bomboras - Savage Island

Watching

I am Alan Partridge

 

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