Feature

Youth in Revolt

A brainy and shy adolescent played by Michael Cera invents a French alter ego named François to help him get a girl.

Directed by Miguel Arteta(R)

**"

A shy teen creates an alter ego to help him get some.

Contrary to its title, there’s not much rebelliousness in Youth in Revolt, said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. In this adaptation of C.D. Payne’s novel, Michael Cera plays a socially awkward virgin who conjures up a supplementary persona to help him get a girl. His Casanova creation, who goes by the name of François, speaks with a French accent, sports a paper-thin mustache, and struts around in Euro-tight white pants. Though this probably seemed like a clever conceit on the page, it winds up disappointingly flat and just plain silly onscreen. Sure, Youth in Revolt is an “absurdist ramble,” said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. But it’s also a “terrifically likable” film, enlivened by “several stretches of lively farce” and a cast that includes Jean Smart as his mom and Steve Buscemi as his dad. As the chronicle of a brainy adolescent, it covers “well-cultivated ground,” but the actors keep it fresh, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. “What counts here is the telling, not the tale.”

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