Film

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

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Look out, Cameron Crowe: While you’ve been busy with arty remakes of Spanish horror flicks and self-indulgent trips through your CD collection, someone’s come along and made the Cameron Crowe-iest movie in years, and you weren’t even involved: Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, directed by Peter Sollett and based on the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, is an often delightful love story that uses music as its primary backdrop, just as in Crowe classics Say Anything, Singles and Almost Famous. It’s also a throwback to the ingratiating teen romances of the 1980s (of which Crowe was one of the primary architects), exuding an innocent, John Hughes-like vibe in its story of the one-night courtship between the title characters, a pair of high-school proto-hipsters.

The Details

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Three stars
Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Alexis Dziena
Directed by Peter Sollett
Rated PG-13
Opens Friday, October 3
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Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
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Nick (Cera) is a sensitive, awkward musician still not over the break-up with his manipulative ex-girlfriend Tris (Dziena); Norah (Dennings) is a sarcastic music geek and classmate of Tris’ who swoons over the mix CDs Nick still makes for his ex (which Norah fishes out of the trash and cherishes). A series of coincidences positions both New Jersey suburbanites at a New York City club, where Nick is playing a show with his band and Norah is hanging with her best friend. Parallel quests to get said drunken friend home safely and to find a secret show by an underground band throw the two together over the course of the evening, during which time they fall for each other despite the obstacles.

It’s a pretty straightforward and predictable story, but Sollett and screenwriter Lorene Scafaria deliver it in a sweet, understated way that doesn’t rely too heavily on rom-com conventions. The subplot about the inebriated, lost best friend is played a little too broadly for laughs that don’t always come, but otherwise the tone is modulated well, and Cera and Dennings make for an endearing couple.

Sollett’s New York is a fairy-tale world where driving is easy and parking is plentiful, and the movie’s notion of romance is just as idealized. Yet, as in Crowe’s best work, the smooth blossoming of the central relationship comes off as more hopeful than cloying.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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