More noise than signal

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com

I would propose that I not spend any great time or attention on Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. I intend this not as a reflection on its quality, as it’s a perfectly reasonable film. It’s just one with a target audience about half of the age I am. Besides, I’m still getting over the crushing disappointment of the film’s failure to provide a method for converting my iPod into an infinite capacity storage device as implied by the title. I really could have used an infinite storage capacity as well. Boo. Hiss.

Targeted at people who would, I suspect, rather be called ‘young adults’ than ‘adolescents’, Nick (Michael Cera) finds himself struggling in a rather pathetic, puppy love sort of way to rekindle a plainly dead relationship with ex-girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena), supposed sexpot of the adolescent NY alternative scene. Largely this attempt consists of the music-consumed Nick sending various mix CDs to Tris, who promptly bins them unheard. This piques the interest of Tris’ acquaintance, if not exactly friend, Norah (Kat Dennings), rescuing said mix from the bin and finding it to be pleasing to her musical tastes.

You can probably see where things are going from here. The rest of the film takes on a Dazed & Confused-esque, last day of school vibe as Nick and his band head off to town to play a gig, stumbling onto rumours that their favourite band are playing a semi-secret gig. Norah’s also on the same trail, and thereafter things unfold with startling inevitability.

This all sounds somewhat dismissive, which isn’t really my intention. While I don’t think I’ll be shocking the world to reveal that this is not the single most original idea for a film we’ve ever seen, it’s certainly competently enough handled. It’s perhaps disappointingly formulaic, given director Peter Sollett’s previous excellent work in Raising Victor Vargas. After such a hiatus this seems an odd choice to return with, yet it’s still decent enough.

Michael Cera could well be accused of recycling much the same character as he played in Juno, and Superbad for that matter, but it’s effective enough at gaining sympathy for him, if not understanding. Quite why Tris would be anyone’s object of affection is something of a mystery, given her role as ‘generic beeyotch’. That, admittedly, is less of an issue with the acting than with the writing. The burgeoning relationship with Norah presents a more believable scenario, with decent chemistry between Kat Dennings and Cera proving to be reasonably convincing and enjoyable.

I’m now going to assign some sort of numerical value to this film, although enquiring minds will enquire as to exactly what relevance this has to something that I feel about as qualified to comment on as High School Musical. This wasn’t written or made with any attempt to be relevant to me in mind, so you have to wonder what relevance my opinion of it will be to you. What I’m saying, and this might have cut an intolerable amount of waffle down, is that your mileage may vary, and if you like this sort of thing then this is the sort of thing you’ll like. That’s a fairly useless review though, but in the end aren’t they all?

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