— by CAM SMITH —
Michael Cera has reached something of a crossroads in his career. Although he’s built a tremendously successful career out of playing stammering, nebbishy young men at odds with the world around them — a surprisingly durable role which has won him a considerable fan-base of raunchy sex-comedy fans (in “Superbad”), geeky lovers of intricate meta-humour (in “Arrested Development”) and trendy hipsters (in “Juno” and “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”) — there’s been a tangible sense of late that audiences are ready for something new from the sun-deprived young superstar.
Fortunately, the early buzz on his next vehicle, “Youth in Revolt,” has been almost unanimously positive, with numerous critics who attended early screenings trumpeting Cera’s performance as something really unique and special, and an extremely fitting appetizer for his impending collaboration with Edgar Wright on the cult graphic novel adaptation “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.”
TrailerSpy has just uploaded the latest trailer for “Youth,” which seems to try its darn-tootin’est to tone down the overt weirdness and darker aspects bubbling just below the surface in favor of a more conventional teen-comedy approach (dig them fun-lovin’ pop songs, kids!). Is this marketing tactic a tad dishonest? Perhaps. But probably a smart move on Dimension Films’ part, especially considering their recent spotty track record at the B.O.
I really love the concept of the film, which features Cera’s unlucky-in-love protagonist creating a cheesy/bad-ass alternate personality — apparently inspired by the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” video — to win the attentions of fickle love interest Portia Doubleday away from her douchey sweater-lovin’ beau. It allows the actor to slyly comment on his own beloved on-screen persona while alternately providing plenty of opportunities to stretch and mature as a performer and physical comedian.
Besides, if anyone is capable of getting some great, novel work out of Cera, it’s director Miguel Arteta, who previously pulled a career-best performance out of Jennifer Aniston in the witty 2002 black comedy “The Good Girl.”
It’s also pretty tough not to get excited about the flick’s eccentric supporting cast, which shrewdly mixes together first-rate dramatically-trained actors (Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, Jean Smart and M. Emmet Walsh) with a razor-sharp collection of improv comics (Justin Long, Zach Galifianakis and Fred Willard).
Adapted from the novel by C.D. Payne (Whose handle would have made a great name for an ’80s era Schwarzenegger hero), “Youth In Revolt” is scheduled to stroll awkwardly into theatres on Jan. 8th, 2010.
By the way, does anyone else find that botched faked-suicide gag as hilarious as I do? Just wonderin’…
Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.