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Youth in Revolt


Stars: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Fred Willard, Erik Knudsen, Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi, Adhir Kalyan, Justin Long, Jade Fusco

Director: Miguel Arteta

A very naughty, fashionably quirky, but pretty funny teen comedy, starring the ubiquitous, angelic-looking Cera (from Juno) as - guess what? - the dithering teenage nerd who has never bedded a girl.

His mother (Smart, the ditzy opposite of her President's wife in 24), has a succession of loutish lovers (including Zach Galifianakis and Ray Liotta), while his father (Buscemi, straitjacketed in a conventional role) lives with his latest popsy (Ari Graynor) a few miles away.

Arriving with Smart and Galifianakis at a 'cabin in the country' that proves to be a trailer park, Nick (Cera) meets Sheeni (Doubleday, an interesting new face), who shares his love of foreign films and Sinatra. Nick is hooked from the moment he takes Sheeni to the beach and he's handed sun cream with the request 'Do you mind applying this to my exposed areas?'. But there's a snag: Sheeni already has a hunky jock boyfriend at school.

Nick's pursuit of Sheeni, to the horror of her parents (played cleverly and amusingly by Mary Kay Place and M Emmet Walsh) is aided and abetted by unscrupulous alter ego, the moustachioed Fran├žois, who gets him into all kinds of trouble, including burning down half the town, and having to admit to Sheeni that he 'lied and manipulated and had you sedated' in order to get her expelled from college and back into his life.

Cera's deadpan delivery of the dialogue - the character uses old-fashioned expressions such as 'slatternly wench' - is as effective as ever, and there's animation, stop-motion, magic mushrooms and rude anatomical references by the dozen to shunt the fun along.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Momentum. Technicolor.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 30 Jan 2010