I was expecting a typical teenage/high school rom com and what I got was something far better. This movie comes as close to capturing EXACTLY what it was like to be young, into alternative music and how many nights ended up like this.
Without giving to much away, the casting was perfect bar maybe the ex-girlfriend of Michael Cera who comes across as way too vacuous and not remotely the alt girl type. Anyway, the chemistry between Nick and Norah seems pretty spot on as does the chemistry between the guys in the band and how they interact with each other. The ability to cast gay characters without making them flaming stereotypes was a good move.
There are other nice touches--the Yugo Nick drives, the clubs they hit in NYC, the goofy late night corner store owner and the empty Port Authority bus terminal all just work to create the feeling of "oh, yeah, I remember being 20 and doing that and being there at 4 a.m." without all this urban angst and fear that movies seem to want to portray New York as having.
On the extras I enjoyed Norah's puppet show version of the movie. Other than that the outtakes, video diary, etc., are just filler.
In the end, Kat Dennings is a star period who knows how not to overact and Michael Cera finally plays a role more suited to his emo-ness.
A pleasant gem.
Nick: I think we both said some things we didn't mean, like... when you broke up with me... on my b-day.
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):
1. Girl breaks up with boy
2. Boy makes mixed tapes and mopes
3. Boy meets new girl
4. Boy's friends decide to intervene
5. New girl's best friend gets drunk, and does extremely nauseating thing
6. Various people search for drunken girl, while searching for publicity shy rock band at the same time
7. Although the ending is characteristic of teen romance movies, this movie has enough going for it to keep your interest until the end...
8. ... once your stomach can stop churning after the aforementioned nauseating thing
This is a typical teenage romance story, but with some new twists. The male lead (Michael Cera) is the only straight member of his rock band, and after a performance the band decides to search for the top secret Manhattan venue of a concert by their favorite indie group "Where's Fluffy?"
Along the way he encounters a girl with similar musical tastes (Kat Dennings), her ditsy best friend (Ari Graynor), and her ex-boyfriend (Jay Baruchel). Naturally, there are also several encounters with his ex-girlfriend (Alexis Dziena), leading to some awkward moments.
I can't help mentioning the nauseating scene, a reminder of which keeps popping up during the movie, but otherwise this is a surprisingly sweet romantic comedy with a good soundtrack. I wouldn't buy it, but recommend it as a rental.