Saturday, April 11, 2009
NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist is a music-centric, harmless time-waster (that may be a compliment, by the way).
Often, the commentary on a DVD explains what is right or wrong about a film. Here, there are two commentaries, and they explain a lot about the film.
First, the actors just sort of goof around on their commentary, much as they did in character in the film.
Then, on the other commentary track, the authors of the book on which the film is based explain how they came to write it and, with the writer of the screenplay and the director, explain how it changed to become a film.
The book originated in a meeting at a restaurant, where the following snail-mail improv was concocted: Each of the two writers, a man and a woman, would write successive chapters of a novel (in practice, each ending their chapters in a deadend to make it hard to start the next part). The main rules were that the two central characters were named Nick and Norah (from The Thin Man - there, Nora), and they were NJ High School Bridge and Tunnel clubbing kids in New York for one night.
It's necessary to listen to the entire author's commentary to find out how the movie got its name.
The film, unfortunately, dropped much of the sex that was apparently in the book, making it very bland.
The whole film is something like a High School version of After Hours.
Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are both good as the leads (though I find her lipstick schmear unflattering and marginally out of character). Most of the supporting characters are good, with some cameos by SNL guys & other well known people. Ari Graynor is very good as the lost, drunk friend around whom the night revolves.
It's watchable. And listenable. A bit like looking at a fire or the small lapping waves of a lake at the shore. Sort of pleasant, inconsequential, almost content free, intermittently boring or amusing, but somehow with a feeling as you watch that if you watch just a a little bit longer you will get another joke and understand the profundity behind the back and forth... up and down... light and dark... soft and loud flow... and little sparks, that meet the eyes and ears.