Youth in Revolt is the story of a teenage boy, Nick Twisp (Cera), who is convinced that he is going to die a virgin. When he meets Sheeni (Doubleday) at the tailer park his mom and deadbeat boyfriend Jerry (Galifianakis) drag him to to escape three sailors who are out to get them, Nick decides to win her heart by becoming what she desires most in a man – a smooth talking French man with no scruples.
OK, so from that description, Youth in Revolt sounds like Superbad meets Fight Club, and that’s kind of what it is, but in a good way. Cera’s two personalities are sweet (Nick) and callous (Francois) but somewhere in the middle is a young man who has been hit with love for the first time and will so anything for the object of his affection.
It is good to see Cera back on form, especially after the disaster of Year One, which seemed to show that Cera is only capable of one emotional note. Cera proves that there is more in his repertoire in Youth in Revolt, and the film serves to remind us what the initial fuss around Cera was. Coupled with some inspired performances from the supporting cast of Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Zach Galifianakis, Ray Liotta and Justin Long, Cera carries the film on his young shoulders and gives one of the finest performances of his career to date. For those tired of the quiet, gentle and sometimes irritating characters that Cera plays will delight to see him play a thin lipped, hardened teen lacking morals in a way that only a young French man can.
The film is based on CD Payne’s coming of age novel of the same name, and though at times it is absurd and the characters become those kids you hated when you were a teenager – those who seemed older than their years – it has it’s own gentle charm and subtle humour. And a fairly whopper soundtrack.