(Note: We're re-posting this review from the Toronto International Film Festival to coincide with the film's theatrical release this weekend)
By: James Rocchi
Starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is a light, slight, fleet-footed teen comedy of romance and indie rock; there are logic holes in it, and lulls, and moments that seem devoid of sense, to be sure, but there are also moments in where Cera or Dennings will smile and your momentary doubts and disagreements are washed away and your head is filled with a sense of gladness, not despair, that you're watching our young, happy hipster heroes on screen. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist combines the shaggy-dog sprawl of an early John Hughes film with the blunt talk and softly-rounded feelings of the Apatow comedies, and if it did not have leads as charismatic and tonally correct as Cera and Dennings, it would be very close to dead in the water; however, since it does, it isn't.
Taking place in some movie version of Manhattan where parking is always immediately available and everyone over 25 has, apparently, been executed Logan's Run-style, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist begins as Nick (Cera) is trying, and failing, to get over his breakup with the tedious-yet-tempting, hot-yet-hateful Tris (Alexis Dzienia), leaving lengthy messages on her phone and exquisitely sequenced mix discs at her door. Tris laughingly discards Nick's most recent effort into the trash at school; sarcastic-but-sweet Norah (Kat Dennings) retrieves it, as she's done for several of Nick's discarded offerings: "He makes the best mixes ever." The fact that Nick's latest effort is labeled "The Road to Closure, Vol. 12" tells you that Nick has strong feelings, and, in this case, weak vocabulary skills.