Zack and Miri make porn. Nick and Norah - younger, more indie - make sweet music. It’s a cutesy, Superbad-eyed view of being a late teen, where falling for someone before legal drinking age is merely awkward, VD a giggle rather than a scratch.
Aiming for the heart more than laughs, Peter Sollett’s Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist plays a decent, if predictable tune - far more MOR than its cutting edge soundtrack would suggest.
That playlist then, so good they hark about it in the title. Vampire Weekend and Band Of Horses, to name but two, pump from the film’s stereo as Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Dennings) embark on a night-long New York search to find a secret gig. They’re meant to be, but first Nick needs closure over his bitch ex Tris (Alexis Dziena).
The leads are flawless. Cera may always play the same rabbit in the headlights, but it’s a role uniquely his own. Dennings meanwhile is cool and courteous. They’re a lovely couple, destined to win MTV’s Best Kiss award.
But Nick & Norah’s is too flimsy, too plodding to wholly resonate. With so many NME-pleasing tunes to cram in, the pacing often feels like an album with moving-picture accompaniment, grossout toilet scenes and tranny discos filler messing with the naturalism of the leads’ blossoming love.
Sollett - who directed the similarly themed Raising Victor Vargas - knows how to ride a rite of passage. It’s just this time he relies on his stars and soundtrack, not story, for propulsion. Lucky they’re both cranked up to 11.
Nick & Norah’s tries to be the date movie for kids in skinny jeans and Cons. Thing is, it’s too safe for their cynicism and while Cera and Dennings are pitch-perfect, even at 90 minutes it feels like a stretch.