Manhattan is the perfect setting for a romantic teen comedy. The city is loud, bustling and well lit.
New York serves as its own character in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” which opened Oct. 3.
Although the teens are on their own the entire night (there are pretty much no people over age 25 in the entire movie), the adventurous nature of the city helps create a cohesiveness in the film.
However, the location is not enough to completely save this movie from being a carbon copy of other teen films.
The film is set in an indie world of obscure bands and teen drinking, but the sweet puppy love of the two main characters helps keep the movie from being too sugary.
Michael Cera, from “Superbad” and “Juno,” plays nerdy Nick who opens the movie by leaving a pathetic voicemail for the girl who has just dumped him.
His ex-girlfriend, the wicked queen bee Tris, has moved onto another guy, while Nick is still pining away.
Nick’s friends convince him to get out of the house and go to see their band play at a local venue.
While playing in a club, Nick meets Norah (played by Kat Dennings from “The 40-Year Old Virgin”).
She becomes embarrassed of being alone and asks Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend for a little while. Thus begins a night to remember for the eventually smitten teens.
While the comedy could have sustained itself on the two just spending time together, newcomer director Peter Sollett has Norah chasing after her drunken best friend, Caroline.
The stereotype of the smashed high school girl is played expertly by Ari Graynor (Meadow’s roommate in “The Sopranos,”) but after awhile, the audience just finds itself wishing she would pass out already.
Caroline is meant to get laughs, but her character comes off as a super-annoying cliché.
The night is spent trying to track down Caroline and then follows the efforts of getting her home safely.
While these antics are occurring, the group of teens is also searching for a band, Where’s Fluffy, that gives secret performances.
Throughout the night the fans get clues and try to track down what venue the band will be appearing at.
The teens are so devoted that they spend nearly all of the night trying to find the band.
The band, along with Nick and Norah’s choice of music, provides the perfect avenue for the movie to showcase some indie/alternative rock.
Bands like Vampire Weekend, We Are Scientists, the Shout Out Louds and the Submarines all get played throughout the film.
The soundtrack is the perfect opportunity to infuse the teen flick with appropriate tunes that the characters would actually listen to.
Overall, this movie could have benefited from some originality.
The music has not been overplayed; there are hardly any gross-out scenes or graphic sex scenes.
But, the movie lost its inventiveness somewhere in the translation.
The movie and its tone feel exactly like “Juno” without the pregnancy. Even the opening credits are almost identical to the previous indie darling.
“Nick and Norah” would have been far more interesting if the scenes had not played out like a replication of teen movies that have already been released.
Erin Konrad can be reached at email@example.com.