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Teenage hormonal kicks.

YOUTH IN REVOLT (15, 89 MINS) 6/10 "IN the movies, the good guy gets the girl," ruefully confides the socially awkward hero of Youth In Revolt, adding that in real life, the girl usually walks off into the sunset with a jerk.

Sure enough, the shy teenager at the centre of Miguel Arteta's quirky romantic comedy, based on the novel Youth In Revolt: The Journals Of Nick Twisp by CD Payne, stands little chance of getting any girl, least of all the pretty blonde of his dreams.

So he summons his imaginary, French alter ego - as you do - whose presence is a safety blanket that provides our laconic protagonist with the courage to risk his heart. In the wake of a slew of offbeat teen comedies - most notably Juno, Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist and Superbad - it is becoming increasingly difficult for similar portraits of sexual awakening to stand out from the crowd. Even more so when all these films star Michael Cera as the hormonally-driven hero, who must overcome his underdog status to stand out from the jock-heavy crowd.

His performances are virtually identical and familiarity is slowly breeding boredom, if not discontent.

Thankfully, the dramatic device of an invisible confidant sets Arteta's film apart, allowing Cera to channel the spirit of John Paul-Belmondo and other Gallic heartthrobs as he trots out flirtatious lines like, "I'm going to wrap your legs around my head and wear you like the crown you are." Nick (Cera) is caught between separated parents with younger lovers. His father George (Buscemi) has a toygirl, Lacey (Graynor), while his domineering mother Estelle (Smart) seems blissfully happy with beer-swilling lout Jerry (Galifianakis).

Sheeni Saunders (Doubleday) sweeps into Nick's humdrum life and the insecure teenager is completely smitten, resolving that Sheeni is the woman to take his virginity.

However, to woo this modern day goddess, Nick will have to call upon the expertise of his invisible and charming confidant, Francois Dillinger (Cera again), who readily says the things that Nick wouldn't dare let past his lips.

Opening with a dazzling stop-motion credits sequence, Youth In Revolt can't quite sustain the air of ironic cool as poor Nick finds himself on the wrong side of the law thanks to his alter ego.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 8, 2010
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