Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) – Film Review

Nick and Norah’s Infinite PlaylistNick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings

Directed by Peter Sollett, based on the novel ‘Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist’ by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

IMDB Rating: 6.7

A cute couple, one New York City night, two crazy ex’s and an elusive band – everything you need for a perfectly quirky teen romance movie!

Nick (Cera) is struggling to get over his ex-girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena), continuously sending her voicemails (well, trying to) and mixtapes. He is finally dragged out of his house by his two bandmates Dev and Thom (Rafi Gavron and Aaron Yoo) to perform a small-time gig, when he hears the infamous band ‘Where’s Fluffy?’ are performing one of their legendary secret shows somewhere in New York City that night. On the other side of the story is the safe and steady Norah (Dennings), a ‘friend’ of Tris’ and the daughter of a rich music producer, who has been listening to Nick’s mixtapes and has developed a crush over this man with impeccable taste. Norah is also out that night on the search for ‘Where’s Fluffy?’ with her best friend and live-wire Caroline (Ari Graynor). Norah, Caroline and Tris (with her new boyfriend) are all at Nick, Dev and Thom’s gig – and Tris not only throws Nick by being at his gig when specifically asked not to, but also causes Norah to lie about this cute stranger – who just happens to be Tris’ Nick – being his boyfriend. And so the night begins.

First of all, this has to be one of the cutest films I have ever seen! Everything about it – Where’s Fluffy, the gay band, the general music and the two leads – it all just screams cute to a level where you’re either smiling without even realising, or puking up at the almost unrelenting sweetness. If it wasn’t for the two evil ex’s then this film would have been too sweet to handle, but it just about finds a nice balance for me. The fact that this film is played over the course of one night is also kind of magical – and a great advert for NYC! That being said, there was a few things that made me uncomfortable – the major one being that Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Tris (Alexis Dziena), does in some scenes have the looks of a 15-year-old. particularly in the flashback-style scene when she shows off the outfit Nick brought for her (at least that’s how I think it went), not cool!

Cover art from the book of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Cover art from the book ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’

Credit must go to the two leads, Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, for making this film what it is. Granted, it is probably not the hardest thing to pull off because the majority of us have gone through all that teen love and crushes stuff – but that shouldn’t take away from the way they both present themselves. Their chemistry together may not be the best I’ve ever seen, but from an individual point of view they are both very good at pulling off the ‘shy in love’ character. Kat Dennings was an interesting one for me – famous for her part in US sit-com Two Broke Girlswhere she plays a brash, back-chatting waitress, but this role is almost a polar opposite to that! She’s gone from being passive aggressive in 2BG’s to almost shy and unconfident (although she’s still got the whole ‘conservative goth’ vibe going on) in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and that really impressed me – she can play two very different styles of character, and if that isn’t the sign of a very good actor then I don’t know what is! Credit must also go to the trio of Rafi Gavron, Aaron Yoo and Jonathan B. Wright, who play the gay trio Dev, Thom and Lethario respectably. These three driving around in their van for most of the night while helping Nick and Norah get set up are probably the primary source of fun in this movie!

As you would expect from a film like this, it is all shot to look as happy and nice as possible by Peter Sollett. It is also done very safely, with no really memorable shots or moments of camera work – the most eye-catching moments being the landscape shots of New York.

This is one of my favourite teen romance films of all time. One reason for this, funnily enough, is that I’m not sure whether to call it a romance film or not – this is just about two people who want to hang out with each other, not two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together, and that’s nice to see. It’s a very light-hearted, easy-going, fun film! I can fully understand if after reading this you’re thinking ‘ugh, way too lovey-dovey for me’, but it really isn’t (so long as you’re not expecting the new Die Hard). If you don’t happen to like Michael Cera – and I know a lot of people who don’t – then you might not like this film, but if he isn’t an issue then I seriously suggest watching this film!

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2 responses to “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) – Film Review

  1. Pingback: Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List (2015) – Film Review | The Culture Cove·

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