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Youth In Revolt 

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Nerds and lovable losers gained more sympathetic treatments on screen at least as early as Sixteen Candles (1984) and Revenge of the Nerds (1984). Whether we now live in a more PC or less judgmental era, films like Superbad (2007) and American Pie (1999) are less about social outcasts trying to fit in than skipping ahead to having it all. In the most recent crop of offbeat coming-of-age stories, the nerds are familiar, at least in theory if not practice, with two proving grounds for adolescent rebellion: raunchy sex and recreational drug use. From the beginning of Youth In Revolt, the homely and earnest Nick Twisp (Michael Cera, who also was in Juno and Superbad) single-handedly embraces the hard truth of his failure to elicit any interest from women. The creation of an arrogant and selfish French alter ego holds some promise. Francois is the repressed id commando unleashed by Twisp's love/lust for Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), and he's empowered by the notion that only "pricks" get the girl. Unfortunately, the battle for Twisp's soul isn't epic enough to be outrageously funny when inflicting collateral damage on his parents' possessions, and his moments of vulnerability and humiliation are never painful enough to make him heroic for picking himself back up. The battle plan here is somewhat formulaic, and the comedy needed to put up a better fight. Sheeni fades from being a character into a premise into a prize. Appearances by Steve Buscemi and Ray Liotta are wasted on flat characters. — Will Coviello

Youth In Revolt (R)

Wide release


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