Youth in Revolt

It's a bitch telling a coming-of-age story minus clichés and sappiness. So Youth in Revolt, with Michael Cera in his best performance yet, is a small miracle. Cera plays Nick Twisp, the teen hero of C.D. Payne's book. We meet Nick after a jerk-off session that should clear the multiplex of prudes. Nick's had it with his divorced mom (Jean Smart) and her new lover (Zach Galifianakis). Ditto his bimbo-banging dad (Steve Buscemi). Nick the virgin isn't getting any. Then he meets Sheeni Saunders (the beguiling Portia Doubleday), who shares his taste for art cinema. To nail Sheeni, Nick invents a mustached alter ego, Francois, who takes what he wants. Destruction ensues, also sex. Director Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck), working from a tight script by Gustin Nash, tinges the mirth with malice. Sweet.

From The Archives Issue 309: January 24, 1980