‘Nick and Norah’ taxi audience to laughter

Brianne Ries

The power of music, awkwardness and witty one-liners drive viewers of “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” on a crazy ride through the unpredictable streets of New York.

A film that could have easily turned into another boy-meets-girl-and-they-fall-in-love plot is filled with twists and laughs that keep audiences on their toes.

Meet Nick, played by Michael Cera, a high school senior who has just been dumped by the perfectly petite Tris, played by Alexis Dzenia. All Nick wants to do is take a “personal health day” when his fellow band members crash his pity party enticing him to head to New York for the band’s performance. The bait: The possibility of catching a secret show by Nick’s favorite band, the Fluffy Bunnies.

Meet Norah, played by Kat Dennings, also a senior, who goes to school with Tris. Her dad is the owner of a well-established record company, yet she is still down to earth and full of insecurities.  She’s never met Nick before, but is known for dumpster-diving for CD mixes he has made for Tris, post-break up. She heads to New York the same night to try and locate the secret Fluffy Bunnies concert.

When Nick and Norah haphazardly meet in a bar, Norah asks Nick to be her boyfriend for five minutes to evade Tris’ persecution and mockery. Little does Norah know when she kisses him that it is Tris’ Nick, who is still a wreck after
the breakup.

A bizarre night ensues, with Nick’s band losing Norah’s tipsy best friend Caroline, played by Ari Graynor, and Tris stalking the “couple” trying to prove she still has control of Nick. Members of the Jerk Offs, Nick’s band, also try to convince Norah that she
is the one for Nick, calling her their “hetero-heroine” for trying to erase Tris from his life. Nick and Norah may be musical soulmates, but only time will tell if there is something more brewing beneath the conflicts and mishaps of one crazy night.

From a rather disgusting moment involving a piece of gum (I will leave it at gum and a toilet full of vomit and let you put the pieces together) to a zany bar scene with transvestites in drag singing Christmas classics, the film is a perfect blend of what-were-they-thinking and this-is-completely-genius.

Several of the more hilarious moments occur when Nick and Norah are confined to Nick’s tiny, unreliable Yugo, a car that has definitely seen better days. Their first ride together in the car captures the pure awkwardness that is carried throughout the film. As much as it makes you cringe in your seat, it is honest, something that is lacking in most romantic comedies.

The characters act far more mature than most high school seniors, which is one of the only unbelievable aspects of the film. Also, the fact that there is absolutely no traffic on the streets of New York City on a Friday night is slightly suspicious. Otherwise the film highlights the highs and lows of being an adolescent in love and confused.

Aside from Cera, who has played lead roles in films such as “Juno” and “Super Bad,” the cast is full of fresh faces that bring
a new and welcome edge to the movie screen.

Based on the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, it’s an excellent screenplay and a great feel-good movie that is true
to the realities we all face.

“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” may be a mouthful to say, but it
is the perfect mix of comedy, romance and drama and has an awesome soundtrack.

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