Sunday, 23 April 2017

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (3 Stars)

This evening I felt in the mood for a teenage romcom, preferably an American high school romcom. The majority of my DVDs still haven't been unpacked after my move to Germany last year, so I decided to check out what Netflix had to offer. This film, whose title I'll shorten to "Nick and Norah", caught my attention. Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in the title roles sound like a suitable pairing.

At school Norah is teased by another girl, Triss, about not having a boyfriend. Later that night they meet in a club, and the teasing continues, so Norah decides to kiss a random boy to make it look like she has someone. Unknown to her, the boy that she kisses is Triss's ex-boyfriend Nick. It's been months since they broke up, but Nick is still obsessed with Triss. This kiss changes Triss's attitude. She enjoyed having Nick crying over her, and she wants to keep him in that state, so she dumps her boyfriend for the evening and offers herself to Nick again. Norah develops an interest in Nick, especially when she discovers that they have identical music tastes, but she's not willing to compete with Triss for his attention.

An added complication is that Norah has gone out with her friend Caroline, who has become totally drunk and needs to be driven home safely. Nick has a car and offers to drive Norah and Caroline home. But Nick is the bass guitarist in a band called the Jerk-Offs, and his fellow band members see him with Norah and think she's right for him, so they take Caroline off his hands.

The other band members are all gay, so they give Nick relationship advice. They claim to know better than straight men what girls really want. Is that true, or just a gay stereotype? I hope it's not true, because if it really is true it's tragic.

I have mixed feelings about the film. The awkward romance between Nick and Norah is touching. What bothers me is the drunk girlfriend. If she had just been a minor subplot I could have accepted it, but she's a major character in the film and we see a lot of her. Girls are really ugly when they stagger around the streets throwing up and acting stupid. This ruined the film for me.

As you can guess, the girl gets the boy in the end, as in all romcoms. Unfortunately, however much I smiled at the happy ending I wasn't satisfied with the meandering path the film took to get there.

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