a critiQal film review Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: After a chance encounter, Nick (Cera) and Norah (Dennings) embark on a journey through New York's indie rock scene on a quest to find the secret show of a legendary rock band, and end up finding each other.

530 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 39s)
  • ...With a fun blend of wit, romance and music, this is one date movie both guys and girls will enjoy.

With the Valentine’s Day holiday, I figured I’d give in to Heather and check out one of “her” movies (ie..chick flick). But, before I got sucked into something like Waiting To Exhale, I suggested the recently-arrived on DVD Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

While it had the makings of a chick flick, it looked like it had some potential to be appealing to guys as well as girls – and it looked like it wasn’t going to be one of those man-bashing chick empowerment films, at the very least. Hoping I hadn’t made a bad decision, we rented it and sat down to watch.

Michael Cera, who came to fame as a teen baby-daddy in Juno, takes the lead in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. While he does the “geek” thing pretty well, he really isn’t the star of the film – he’s in fact a bit overshadowed by Kat Dennings, who gives the more memorable performance as Norah to Cera’s Nick.

While Nick spends most of the film hidden under a shy exterior and driving a Yugo of all things, it’s up to Norah to coax him out of his shell, while battling her own inner misgivings about going after an acquaintance’s ex. She lends a lot of the charm to the film that will keep the viewer sticking around.

The film itself has a great deal of charm, and it’s not all about the actors. With the rather silly shenanigans going on – including a search for both a drunk friend and an elusive band – the film brings across a bit of nostalgia by bringing viewers back to a more simple time – one that didn’t include bills and struggling to make ends meet in a bad economy. Instead, these teens spend their time on an quest for their own grail – in this case, an indie rock band named, aptly enough, Where’s Fluffy?.

Amidst this rather odd backdrop, the relationship between the title stars Nick and Norah begins. From uncomfortable silences to a bevy of mixed signals, these two don’t originally seem to have anything in common except for their taste in music. While interruptions abound, their relationship blossoms as hesitantly as any young romance in today’s modern world.

As mentioned, distractions abound during this night, including – but not limited to – a drunk friend lost in New York with an obsession for both chewing gum and turkey sandwiches; clues to the secret gig and interferences from exes on both sides. While the blossoming relationship is the center-point of the film, these distractions help increase the appeal of the film, as there’s a bit something for everyone mixed in at least a little bit (looking for gross humor? just follow the chewing gum…).

With it’s take on relationships among indie rock fans, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist should appeal to a large cross-section of people, whether they be long-time adults or teens in the midst of their own first relationship. Thanks to a blend of wit, romance and a great nostalgic feel to the film, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist isn’t a bad way to spend Valentine’s Day – whether you’re on your first date or your 400th.

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