When you think about it, nothing much really happens in this movie. NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST takes place in the course of one day and night, with the crux of the story occuring in the wee hours of the morning. So there's a bit of an energetic After Hours vibe in this movie, but catered towards the sensibilities of hip teenagers who prowl the New York streets way past their bedtime. But then it also has echoes of Adventures in Babysitting, with Ari Graynor's awfully wasted Caroline subbing in for Penelope Ann Miller's nervous Brenda. Going into this one, and me being a huge fan of one of the most fabulous romantic couples in cinema, Nick and Nora Charles (of the Thin Man series), I was already favorably predisposed towards this quirky teenage romantic comedy.
Norah has never met Nick. But she knows about this guy who makes the best break-up mix CDs, most of which were pieced together for his ex-girlfriend Tris (his latest opus being titled "Road to Closure Vol. 12"). But Tris just pokes fun at the poor sap and then promptly discards these mixes, with Norah then un-discarding them and putting them in her I-pod. Because Norah absolutely digs these mixes. So, no, Norah has never met Nick, but she's probably halfway in love with the guy anyway.
Now Nick may not look like he's all that (in fact, he looks kinda dorky), yet he plays in a rock band, plays the guitar although he doesn't quite know how to work the drum machine. And dude drives a broken-down yellow Yugo which people often mistake for a taxi. But being in a band has to count for a couple of cool points, right? The plot MacGuffin is that the legendary rock band Fluffy is scheduled to put on a secret show somewhere in NYC, the rub being, of course, that the time and location are kept a mystery, leaving Fluffy's fans scouring the city for clues in the form of little white rabbits. Nick and Norah happen to be such fans, and, during this evening, they meet by chance and then are thrown together by circumstances (circumstances being the misplacing of Norah's unholily inebriated BFF and a half-hearted quest to find Fluffy). And, somehow, someway, it turns out that Nick and Norah just may be perfect for each other.
Segue alert. The special features in this dvd are pretty righteous: two cool audio commentaries - one with Director Peter Sollett, Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, and Ari Graynor (fun!); the other with Peter Sollett, authors Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, and screenwriter Lorene Scafaria; 4 minutes of outtakes; 9 deleted/alternate scenes; an awesome "Nick & Norah Puppet Show" by Kat Dennings (she pretty much recaps the film but also throws in a savage bear); Ari Graynor's excellent video diary; storyboard animations; a fake interview with Michael Cera & Kat Dennings; Peter Sollett's photo album; and Bishop Allen's music video "Middle Management." All worth checking out.
I really like this movie. See this one especially if you like movies in which two people just mostly hang out and come to find that they're awesomely sympatico. Michael Cera (Juno (Single-Disc Edition)) and Kat Dennings are terrific together, showing off an easy, natural chemistry. The low-key Michael Cera, with his not-quite-male-model looks, is likeable because he's so relatable to nerds like me, but he's also got his act together, not to mention that Cera has that wonderfully dry delivery. Kat Dennings is amazing in this film, with her vibrancy and spunk and wistful vulnerability and just her girl-next-door realness. How can you not pull for her, especially when you find out that her ex-boyfriend was mostly using her to get in good with her influential music producer dad? And don't discount the supporting actors. It's cool that Nick's gay homies aren't portrayed stereotypically, but more as regular dudes and who really are looking out for Nick. And credit to Ari Graynor for being a good sport in some pretty humiliating haplessly drunk scenes (that scene of Caroline sifting thru a soiled toilet for her bubble gum is funny, but in a really gross kinda way).
Do they ever find the legendary rock band Fluffy? It doesn't really matter, because this movie isn't really about Fluffy. There's no dumbing down here, and there are many moments of great appeal, mostly generated by the two leads. Set in the gritty neon backdrop of the Big Apple at night and with a playlist of cool indie-rock tunes to serenade things along, NICK & NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, funny and romantic, wistful and unconventional, should please both teens and adults, the night owls and even those who like to turn in early - and thus will never know the delights of experiencing a live Fluffy concert. Although, again, it's not about Fluffy.