Starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. Rated PG. Opens Friday, October 3, at the Cinemark Tinseltown
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist has the indie pedigree—from geekalicious Michael Cera on its marquee to music by Devo legend Mark Mothers-
baugh—but it lacks the indie spirit it wants so superbad.
The requisite lo-fi cartoon opening credits by Juno's Shadowplay Studio; Nick's artsy rusted-out Yugo; his drummerless queercore band the Jerk Offs (Nick is the only nonqueer); hot dogs at Gray's Papaya: none of these hipster touchstones can hide the fact that this is a formulaic teen comedy dressed up in skinny black jeans.
The result is an endless road trip through late-night Manhattan haunts that moves about as slowly as, well, Nick's broken-down Yugo. Nick (Cera) is still reeling from being dumped by Tris (Alexis Dziena) when he meets her supposedly loserish friend Norah (Kat Dennings).
What Nick doesn't realize is that Norah has secretly been pining for him. They join their pals on a trip through New York's music scene—alternately chasing and confronting their exes and, predictably, eventually bonding over tunes.
Nick and Norah does show smarts, thanks to the cred of its source material, the novel of the same name. There's something sweet about a couple that's as likely to debate the merits of the Cure as they are to discuss obscure Jewish theological tenets.
But what is Caroline (Ari Graynor), Norah's perma-howitzered friend, doing at an indie-rock bar show in a designer dress and high heels? For that matter, why does Nick bother lusting after Tris when Norah is obviously so much cooler? And why do all these in-the-know hipsters spend the night tuning into mainstream radio to find the location of the Where's Bunny concert if it's so underground?
Nick and Norah is offbeat enough to defy being just another teen movie, but Cera's own résumé makes expectations higher, too. Still, the soundtrack is so cool you'll want to add it to your own infinite playlist.