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Miguel Arteta
Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Justin Long, Zach Galifianakis, Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Ray Liotta, Erik Knudsen, Adhir Kalyan
Writing Credits:
Gustin Nash, C.D. Payne (novel)

Every "Revolution" Needs A Leader.

Youth in Revolt is a coming-of-age comedy that puts a fresh and outrageous stamp on a tale of adolescent obsession and rebellion. Based on the acclaimed novel by C.D. Payne, Youth in Revolt is the story of Nick Twisp - a unique, but affable teen with a taste for the finer things in life like Sinatra and Fellini - who falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful, free-spirited Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) while on a family vacation. But family, geography and jealous ex-lovers conspire to keep these two apart. With Sheeni's encouragement, Nick abandons his dull, predictable life and develops a rebellious alter ego: Francois. With his ascot, his moustache and his cigarette, Francois will stop at nothing to be with Sheeni and leads Nick Twisp on a path of destruction with unpredictable and uproarious consequences.

Box Office:
$18 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.888 million on 1873 screens.
Domestic Gross
$15.281 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $34.95
Release Date: 6/15/2010

• Audio Commentary with Director Miguel Arteta and Actor Michael Cera
• Deleted Scenes
• Deleted and Extended Animation Sequences
• Audition Footage
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Youth In Revolt [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 9, 2010)

Michael Cera attempts to develop a two-note acting repertoire via his split personality performance in 2010’s Youth in Revolt. Teenage Nick Twisp (Cera) lives in Oakland with his trashy mother Estelle (Jean Smart) and her latest loser boyfriend Jerry (Zach Galifianakis). When Jerry sells some sailors a lemon of a car, the three of them go on the lam and spend a week in an upstate trailer park.

There Nick meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), a pretty, smart and funny teen girl. Nick immediately falls for her, and though she initially rebuffs him, they soon start a romance.

A seemingly ill-fated romance, since before long, Nick must return to Oakland. Nick comes up with a scheme: he wants to find his dad (Steve Buscemi) a job up where Sheeni lives and then live with him. The trick: he needs to get thrown out of his mom’s house.

How to do so? Nick develops an alternate personality. He calls himself “Francois Dillinger” and starts to rebel in ways that regular Nick never could. We follow these attempts to reunite with Sheeni.

As I alluded at the start, Cera has never displayed a broad range of acting abilities. He plays introverted, virginal mumblers and that’s about it. Nick clearly falls into that category, but Francois gives Cera the chance to display a wider skill set.

Does he pull off this minor stretch? Not really, though he’s not a disaster as Francois. He does manage to avoid his usual tics and mannerisms, but he doesn’t make Francois a strong alter ego. Francois would be more interesting if he delivered a semi-tough impression, but Cera still seems like such a namby-pamby that the character doesn’t deliver the necessary darkness.

Cera doesn’t become the film’s biggest weakness, though, as its generally twee sensibility and overall tedium cause the biggest problems. When we last saw director Miguel Arteta, he led 2002’s mediocre Good Girl; before that, he made 2000’s awful Chuck & Buck. For reasons unknown, Arteta spent years away from feature films; he worked on TV, but Revolt became his first cinematic offering since 2002.

I didn’t care for either of his prior flicks, so I suspect it was unrealistic to expect greatness – or even goodness - from Revolt. The film suffers from its self-consciously quirky worldview, as the characters and situations tend toward cloying wackiness and/or pretentiousness. When we first meet Nick, we learn that the 16-year-old loves Sinatra and Fellini.

Sigh. While I don’t doubt that a handful of teens feel the same way, the decision to make Nick such a little poseur became a basic distraction, and it getscompounded when Sheeni has her own pretensions; the scene in which the pair bond over vinyl LPs nearly made me gag.

Yes, we see that Sheeni and Nick have these common interests, but there’s no real reason for them to be so Overtly Different. They could connect for other, less ridiculous reasons, and the pretensions add nothing to the plot; except perhaps for Sheeni’s fascination with France, they play no role in the film, so the kids seem like they’re putting on airs for no reason.

But you know what? The pretentiousness, quirkiness and Cera’s performance aren’t the movie’s biggest problem. The greatest issue here stems from the film’s simple tediousness. Even at a brief 90 minutes, Revolt drags. It lacks any vague tension and often feels more like a loosely connected series of vignettes. There should be some escalating sense of drama as Nick works to be with Sheeni, but instead, it all comes with a big yawn attached.

Almost none of the comedy works, and we never remotely care about the characters. Revolt does boast a nice supporting cast, but it revolves around the consistently dull Nick and Sheeni, and that leaves a gaping hole at its center. Will they get together in the end? Probably, but we don’t care. They’re just a pair of doper teen poseurs, and they prompt no attachment from the audience.

Despite all these flaws, Revolt truly could’ve been worse; with Chuck & Buck in his filmography, this isn’t even close to being Miguel Arteta’s weakest movie. This doesn’t make Revolt a good flick, however, as it’s just too slow and dull to become enjoyable.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Youth in Revolt appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Across the board, the movie provided an attractive presentation.

My only minor complaint related to shadow detail. The film’s low-light sequences tended to be a little on the dense and dark side. They weren’t bad, however, and blacks were deep and firm.

No issues with sharpness occurred, as the movie provided a tight, concise impression. Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, and no edge haloes appeared. Source flaws created no distractions, and colors looked good. The movie went with a fairly subdued, golden feel, and it delivered attractive hues. Only the minor thickness in low-light scenes kept this one from “A”-level, as it mostly boasted solid visuals.

While not a dazzler, I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Revolt exceeded my modest expectations. The soundfield favored general environmental material, though it kicked into higher gear on a few occasions. For instance, the big scene in which Nick/Francois blew up a car boasted decent impact and spread. Music also worked well, as the score used the various speakers to good advantage.

Audio quality was positive. Speech seemed natural and distinctive, without edginess or other issues. Music appeared full and rich, while effects demonstrated nice clarity. Again, they didn’t often have a ton to do, but they were consistently accurate, and the louder sequences showed fine presence. Nothing here excelled, but the track was good enough for a “B”.

A handful of extras fills out the set. First we get an audio commentary with director Miguel Arteta and actor Michael Cera. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, set and costume design, editing, adapting the source novel, locations, and a few other production notes.

Though it starts slowly, the commentary picks up its pace before too long and offers a generally good examination of the film. We learn a reasonable amount of information about the film; I especially liked the observations about changes from the book. While this never threatens to become a great chat, it keeps us involved.

Nine Deleted Scenes last a total of 10 minutes, 48 seconds. Most offer minor tidbits to existing concepts, and the majority focus on secondary characters. That makes them superfluous, though that fact makes them a little more interesting; since Revolt boasts a good supporting cast, it’s more fun to see these folks than Cera.

We also get five Deleted and Extended Animation Sequences that go for a total of seven minutes, 11 seconds. We see these quirky interludes a few times during the film, and this collection doesn’t do a lot to alter them – not based on my memory, at least. I’m much too lazy to try to directly compare them to the shots from the final flick, but most of them seemed to be pretty similar. I thought they were too self-consciously quirky in any case, but if you liked them, you’ll probably enjoy the opportunity to view more of them.

Some Audition Footage finishes things. This seven-minute, 45-second reel provides clips for Portia Doubleday, Zack Galifianakis, Erik Knudsen, Jonathan B. Wright and Adhir Kalyan. I always enjoy clips like this, so it’s fun to check out this early footage.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Chloe, A Single Man, and The Runaways. These also appear under Previews along with promos for A Prophet, The Bounty Hunter, and Harry Brown. No trailer for Revolt appears here.

Michael Cera tries to expand his dramatic range – and pretty much fails – in the quirky Youth in Revolt. In truth, this isn’t an awful film, but it bores much more than it entertains. The Blu-ray provides very good picture, perfectly adequate audio, and a decent little collection of supplements. I feel pleased with the Blu-ray, but the movie doesn’t do much for me.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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