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"Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"

Directed by Peter Sollett.
Written by Lorene Scafaria.  Based on the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.
Starring Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Ari Graynor and Alexis Dziena.
Release Year:  2008
Review Date:  10/15/08


Wow.  Wow!!!  I saw the trailer for "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" and told people that it looked good, that I wanted to see it, that it had "potential."  I don't know if I have ever been so...fucking...wrong!!!!

The first fifteen minutes of this film are nothing short of atrocious, ESPECIALLY if you have seen any other Michael Cera film/show.  (That would include "Arrested Development", "Superbad" or "Juno.")  Can Cera play this character (or maybe, an extension of himself) in EVERY movie he appears in?  Maybe, but even if he could, SHOULD he?  You get that, a bad collection of supporting actors, and a script that might be ripped from a book but it should never have seen a movie screen.  The recipe for disaster?

Meg and I caught a 7-something show on a Wednesday night; it was about a third full.  Seriously, you would have thought it was a funeral.  Almost no laughter from the audience throughout.  The plot concerns Nick (Cera), hung up on his last girlfriend, Triss (Alexis Dziena).  He plays in a band and has a wicked music sense; he made a bunch of mix CDs for Triss, which she promptly threw away, each time in the presence of her friend Norah (Kat Dennings), who promptly took them out of the trash to download onto her iPod, and she loves Nick even though she's never met him.  One night at a show for Nick's band, Norah meets Nick for the first time...adventure of the indie variety follows, and from there, the film is complete shit.

Of course, when you start out in the shitter, there's nowhere to go but down the drain, and that's where "NANIP" goes for 90 agonizing minutes.  Halfway through this drivel, I actually wanted to get up and leave, it was so fucking atrocious.  The women not named Norah in this film are awful, scary, unfunny, untalented, you name it...this would be include Dziena, who actually frightened me the first time I saw her walk, because she's such a stick and so scary for what might be a teenager.  Then, there's Norah's best friend Caroline (Ari Graynor), who I actually wanted to put a bullet into by the time she was tossing in a bus station bathroom.  This was partly on Graynor, who is as far from winning the Oscar as a young actress can be; this was partly on my real-life anger for stupid people who get wasted at parties, so maybe in that sense, Graynor was really good.

Dennings is the only person in this film that I sorta liked, but then again, she is cast as a quietly sarcastic awkward character...uhh, exactly like Cera.  This leads to some painful moments and one of the worst screen kisses Meg and I have ever seen.  I think someone saw "Juno" and thought that it might work to put Cera against another sarcastic type, but the difference is that Ellen Page's Juno had more moments of raising her voice, or being energetic, or generally being un-Cera.  Dennings and Cera would make a better cop tandem or brother-sister duo than love interests, and I couldn't stop yawning whenever the two of them made conversation.

"NANIP" was dogshit, but it caught me way offguard.  Hopefully, Cera will begin to evolve in his next film, because he is boring the living hell out of me.

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09