October 02, 2008

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist

Where's Cloverfield when you need it?

Grade: B –

Director: Peter Sollett

Starring: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Alexis Dziena, and Ari Graynor

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Like its central leitmotif, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist is an eclectic mix tape, intertwining alt-rock edginess with sappy love ballads while elevator music drones incessantly in the background. For his feature-length sophomore effort, director Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas) fashions a nocturnal valentine to NYC, particularly its alternative club scene, fostering a buoyant sense of time and place.

Nora (Kat Dennings) had a crush on Nick (Michael Cera) before she even met him, thanks to rescuing the rad mix CDs Nick burns for a catty ex-girlfriend (Alexis Dziena) who promptly tosses them in the high school garbage can. By night, Nick plays bass guitar as the token straight in a Queercore rock band, while Nora tries to sift guys attracted to her earthy personality and good looks and those trying to nestle up to her father, a renowned record label owner. When the two finally meet-cute, they squeeze into Nick’s yellow Yugo and embark on an all night odyssey to track down New York City’s most popular indie rock band – along with Nora’s drunk best friend (Ari Graynor) – while coming to grips with loves both lost and newly found.

Cera yet again successfully reprises his Arrested Development nebbish, and the film’s final half hour offers a harmonic, Linklater-like apogee of romantic discovery. Unfortunately, the rest of the screenplay and supporting characters are like the single, icky piece of chewing gum that winds its way through the entire evening: flavorless and highly disposable.

Neil Morris

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