This year’s Juno? Close but not quite. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a sweet, warm, funny movie that’s about as likely to offend audiences as the news that you’ve won a year’s free supply of chocolate.
Based around a bunch of not-entirely-believable events on a New York evening, this is a journey movie. Our hero, Nick (Cera), is the straight and straight-edge bass player in the Jerkoffs, a band high on ambition but perhaps still trying to locate their muse. He’s been dumped by his true love, Tris (Dziena), but during a chance encounter at a gig he meets Norah (Dennings) and seizes on a moment to make Tris jealous. When Norah’s best friend Caroline (Gaynor) disappears in a drunken stupor, the initially fractious duo unite in a search across the city to find her.
How much you fall for the movie’s charm depends on your appetite for the leads. For many movie fans Cera was the standout in Superbad and Juno, and he brings the same brand of amiable dorkish charm to this role. Dennings, too, is incredibly likeable, but her dialogue doesn’t zing with the same witticisms as Ellen Page’s Juno. In fact, Nick and Norah’s Infiniten Playlist is a far more conventional take on a late teen comedy than Jason Reitman’s movie and suffers from more pedestrian plotting and pacing, too.
If you feel that paints a gloomy picture then you can tell any fears to take a step back from the plate because there’s still plenty to enjoy here. There’s a great supporting performance from Gaynor, neat set pieces (including "discovering Jesus" and how to cope with amorous taxi passengers) and a soundtrack crammed with the type of artists for whom the term hip isn’t immediately followed by the word replacement. One word of warning though — you will never look at a piece of chewing gum in the same way again. Fact.