Poppacultcha At The Movies: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Being desperate for any kind of actual content, I’ve decided to commit myself to reviewing everything. Movies I see, music I listen to, books I read, everything. Everything new, anyway. I’m not going to bore the hell out of all of you with ten year old movies I got from the library or a lengthy meditation on some old episode of Scrubs I just watched on TV Land (why is Scrubs on TV Land again? And Extreme Makeover Home Edition? Let us think on these things), my posting habits are arbitrary enough. Random complaining about whatever my eyes and ears pick up during the day is what my Twitter stream is for (not what I said it was for earlier, I’ve decided to make that a separate one). Anyway, on with the show.

As I start this review, three facts should be mentioned.

1) Kat Dennings is hot (which you may already know),

2) Judd Apatow is not involved with this movie in any way (which this movie does not want you to know), and

3) There was supposed to be a third fact here, but I have no idea what it was going to be.

Seeing ads for this movie might confuse you as to what it’s supposed to be. Is it some cutesy teen romance, or some kind of hip urban Superbad that you can take your girlfriend to? What it is is this: the bastard child of Superbad and Juno, basically. And your confusion is fair. The movie seems to not quite know what it wants to be either. Half of it is hip, romantic teen date movie fare, and this is spliced with plentiful gay jokes, general sex humor and a few moments so just plain gross they feel dropped in from another movie.

That’s not to say it doesn’t hold together. Which isn’t to say that it does. It’s hard for me to tell. I’ve seen the complete Kevin Smith oeuvre, some of them far too many times. I’m used to this type of cognitive dissonance. Numb to it. If Kevin Smith, Judd Apatow and Diablo Cody collaborated on a movie, it would feel vaguely similar to what we have here.

I would be lying if I didn’t say I saw this movie mostly because Michael Cera is in it. His presence and the somewhat strong reviews drew me in. I would also be lying if I didn’t say that the recent spate of movies that throw around the names of indie rock bands to build credibility didn’t get on my nerves a little. Two things redeem them in my mind: one, it pisses off music snobs, which is always fun. Two, that one line from Juno where she gets pissed off at Jason Bateman’s character and rips on Sonic Youth as “a bunch of noise?” Gold. I laughed my ass off and felt fucking vindicated by it in a deep and profound way. To an extent, this movie does the same thing. Fortunately, the one band that gets mentioned most and initiates the plot of the movie, Where’s Fluffy, is fictional. It’s not like they were trying to get to a We Are Scientists show or something.

There is a lot to like about this movie, beyond just the humor (which is sharp and worth the price of admission), but it’s hard to quantify. I, for one, enjoy living vicariously through fictional characters on occasion. I could watch cool teenagers wander around New York having a good time and listening to good music for hours. Judging from a lot of the complaints I’ve heard about movies like, say, Garden State (which I adore and, for complicated reasons, have bought on DVD twice), not a ton of people agree with me there. You don’t have to, to like this movie, but it helps.

On my highly experimental rating scale, which goes from -3 to 0 to 3, I give Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist a somewhat unexpected 2. Unless you thought it looked like it sucked, I would check it out.

– Robbi Ramirez, thirty century man


One Response to “Poppacultcha At The Movies: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”

  1. Norman Bates Says:

    You’re an odd one Robbi (and that’s coming from ME, Norman Bates). The only thing I can agree on is the oddness of Scrubs being on TV Land syndication. The movie was decent, however. Just decent.

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