Youth in Revolt Review


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Youth in Revolt is a 2010 American film adaptation of C.D. Payne‘s epistolary novel of the same name starring Michael Cera. The novel was written in 1993 epistolary novel, and is part three of a six-part series.


Nick Twisp (played by Michael Cera) is a 16 year old virgin who has, by the standards of his peers, a peculiar taste in media culture; the music of Frank Sinatra and the films of Federico Fellini. Nick lives with his mother and her awful boyfriend, Jerry, who soon finds himself owing a group of angry sailors money due to a sour car sale. Instead of righting this wrong, Jerry decides to lay low for a while and takes Nick and his mother on vacation to a Christian trailer park. This is where Nick meets the beautiful but dangerous Sheeni Saunders (played by Portia Doubleday). The two strike up a relationship however it is soon thwarted as Nick inevitably has to return home. The shy, awkward and naïve Nick is however encouraged by Sheeni to become “very, very bad” so he may be kicked out of home and be free to live with his father, George (played by Steve Buscemi), and they can be together. Nick soon develops an evil, French alter-ego to help him along with his quest to become evil, afterwhich whackiness ensues.


The epistolary nature of the novel is referenced in the film by use of plastacine stop-motion characateurs of the characters, references to letters and diary entries. This lends to the quirkiness of the film that a Michael Cera movie seems to ask for.

The film is not quite a drama, not quite a comedy. This makes it fall into the safe niche of young adult quirky dramedy, a la Juno; i.e. if you don’t find it funny, you weren’t supposed to, as it was a drama. Laughed at it? You were supposed to; it was a comedy.

I loved Michael Crea in Arrested Development as he played the shy and socially awkward George Michael brilliantly; a minor character in a pretty much all-star show. I am not yet sold with the idea that he can carry an entire movie, especially with the same ‘hipster’ type of role. He has played this type of character in most of his film roles, but it is at least pleasing to see him stretch himself in this role if only by just a bit; as an evil-French alter-ego.

Obviously Michael Crea fans and fans of this type of quirky comedy in general may like this movie.


It is curious that Michael’s films are based on material that was created in the early 90’s (such as Scott Pilgrim vs The World)but are reimagined as movies to apply to ‘hipster’ contemporary youth culture. I am not part of, nor a fan of, ‘hipster’ culture and therefore, again, I cannot empathise with the main character and the choices he makes.

2 revolting youths out of 5

Check out the film at IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, and check out the trailer.

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~ by McW on September 1, 2010.

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