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01/08/2010

Que? Cera, Cera

Outwardly meek "Juno" co-star Michael Cera, who's in his early 20s now, could probably play a high school student well into his mid-40s.

Cera gets the chance not once, but twice in "Youth in Revolt," a randy coming-of-age comedy.

The product of a dysfunctional broken Oakland home, somewhat eccentric Nick (Cera), 16, escapes into his love for Sinatra while his mother (Jean Smart) enjoys, shall we say, the company of a variety of men.
 
Her liaisons include Ray Liotta as police Officer Lance and Zach Galifianakis ("The Hangover") as someone who enjoys the opposite of the law.

Nickie falls helplessly in love himself.  But he needs a little encouragement from someone edgier and more aggressive to win over Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), who comes not from trailer park trash, but trailer park royalty of sorts.

Woody Allen's shy bumbling character conjured up the spirit of Humphrey Bogart to help him put the moves on Diane Keaton in "Play It Again, Sam" (1972).

In "Youth In Revolt," directed by Miguel Arteta ("The Good Girl") and based on C.D. Payne's 1993 novel, Nick relies on a suave imaginary alter ego named Francois, which is also Cera, but sporting an ascot, a pencil-thin mustache and an ever-present cigarette.

Nickie admires Francois.  He just can't be him, except, perhaps when his chance at spending serious time, if you know what I mean, with Sheeni is on the line.

It's a hoot to see Cera raise a little hell on screen and to let loose in an R-rated comedy.

"Youth in Revolt," while not a classic for the ages, at least flings cigarette ashes in the face of authority for young shy guys looking to date above their station.  

And it does so with wild abandon.  Francois demands it. 

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