Despite lukewarm reviews I had high-ish hopes for this movie – at least in a stay-in-and-slob-out-feel-good-waste-of-time kind of way. Firstly it’s the kind of movie I’ve liked in the past – gentle rom-com with young attractive leads – and second I liked Michael Cera in Juno. So did it live up to my modest expectations?
It reminds me of those movies from the eighties that involve some kind of journey – Adventures in Babysitting; Blind Date; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; and even Risky Business. Here the MacGuffin is the quest for a secret gig by a cool on-the-up band. Michael Cera’s Nick and Kat Dennings’ Norah are on the hunt for this gig and along the way they share some fun, grow a little closer, there’s misunderstanding then… well you can guess the rest, it’s a rom-com right?
The leads are likeable enough but I can decide if the lack of spark between them is the fault of the un-inspired script of just that missing je ne sais quoix they call chemistry. The film also suffers from not really knowing what it wants to be tonally – there are elements of gross-out comedy, slapstick and as mentioned, following the leads’ strengths, a very gentle burgeoning teen romance. It never quite meshes but one would be expecting a lot to think that it might – I blame, as ever, the legacy of American Pie for that.
It’s also the fact that none of the necessary non-Nick, non-Norah scenes are that memorable or interesting. The obligatory comedy sidekicks are neither endearing nor outrageous enough. The funny set-pieces aren’t funny enough.
Perhaps notable is the sex scene, not for any lascivious reasons – it was reasonably discreetly done – but for message it conveyed. The idea that “it’s in his kiss” is used in many rom-coms – they use the song in Adventures in Babysitting – but this was the first time I seen a movie where “you’ll know he’s the one if he can give you an orgasm” was the message. And as this was – of course – their first mutual experience that’s kind of unhelpful and unrealistic. But it is the logical extension of what Hollywood has been saying about romance for years I suppose. I dunno though there’s room in the subtlety for a little more realistic fantasy.
5/10 – vaguely likeable, almost entirely unmemorable and done better elsewhere.