In a great romance, theres always a moment two people share on camera when you know theyre in love but they still havent quite figured it out just yet. Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings) have just kissed, as Norah is looking to show to Tris (Alexis Dziena) that she came to a concert (featuring Nicks band, amongst others) with someone besides her obnoxiously drunken friend Caroline (Ari Grayner). What Norah doesnt know is that Nick is still smitten over Tris, his ex-girlfriend. Nick doesnt know that Tris and Norah dislike each other quite vehemently. Its a raw, tender moment between two people who dont know each other but has the spark that all great cinematic romances have. Before all the drama plays out, this magical moment fuels Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist. Without it, its just another film about two kids trying to find a band in the middle of the night.
The film follows a wild night in Nick and Norahs lives, as their mutual quest to find a band playing a secret show in New York City takes them all across it. They both love the band, as well as being music aficionados, and this shared interest bonds them. And what starts out as a quirky independent film in the tone of Juno turns into a conversation in the vein of Before Sunrise, albeit for the younger set, making it into perhaps an American Graffiti for a new generation. Its a gem of a film that relies on its cast.
It starts with Dennings and Cera. Both have been underrated and known for smaller roles over the years but this is their film. They have terrific chemistry with each other, which is the key to the film because theyre in nearly every scene together, and we genuinely want to see them get together. As they spend the latter half of the film talking, we get to know them well. No one in this film is caricature or a stereotype; everyones a bit quirky for the most part. But the film doesnt rely on quirk; it knows just when to tone it down and turn into a serious drama, hitting all the right notes. This is a terrific screenplay and Peter Sollett doesnt try and get cute with it.
Solletts main contribution, outside of good camerawork, is telling a good story. This is more of an actors film than a directors film and he knows this. By combining lots of great shots of New York, as well as some great interior sequences in the clubs as well. The films music, which features a lot of obscure bands, is terrific as well. It sets the mood terrifically, as these arent people who listen to the Top 40. These are true music aficionados and the music of their world reflects it. Its nice to see and is a nice touch that adds an authenticity to it that putting on popular bands like Led Zeppelin would take away from.
It may have fallen under the radar for most, but Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist is a gem of a film waiting to be discovered.
One of the complaints about the DVD has been the lessened a/v as part of trying to cram as much material as is given on the DVD extras (as well as a Digital Copy) has taken away from the source material. Its not a horrid transfer, presented in a widescreen format with a Dolby Digital surround, but it isnt a strong one either. The film was shot on a digital camera, ala Collateral, and has the same look as that DVD does. Its still a good-looking film, but not terrific looking.
A Digital Copy of the film is included. You have to have iTunes to use it, however.
There are the usual Deleted/Alternate Scenes and Outtakes
Theres aNick & Nora Puppet Show voiced by Kat Dennings thats moderately amusing.
Ari Graynors Video Diary: A Look Behind the Scenes is footage shot from behind the scenes by the actors themselves as they prepared for making the film. Its always interesting to see a group of young actors messing around and having a fun time on the set.
You can see Storyboard Animations of the film as well as a Photo Gallery from Peter Sollett.
Theres a Faux Interview between Cera, Dennings and Eddie Kaye Thomas (famous for being “Finch” in the American Pie series). Its not really amusing.
A Music Video for “Middle Management” by Bishop Allen is included. The song was the one used in the trailer and is a bit of a catchy alt-rock kind of tune.
Previews for Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway, Center Stage: Turn it Up and Girls Night in are included.
In a time when romantic films have become remarkably vulgar, it’s refreshing to see one that doesn’t require blue language or male nudity than many do.
Columbia Pictures presents Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist. Directed by Peter Sollett. Starring Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Ari Graynor, Alexis Dziena. Written by Lorene Scarfaria. Running time: 89 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: 2.3.2009. Available at Amazon.
Tags: Kat Dennings, Michael Cera