DVD Review: Youth in Revolt

Michael Cera stars as Michael Cera (i.e., a weedy nerd) in this smart teen comedy based on the novel by C. D. Payne. He lives with his trailer-trash mother and beer-swilling step-father (Zach Galifinakis) since his real dad, played by Steve Buscemi, ran off to be with a 25-year underwear model. When he and his parents go away for the weekend, he meets the girl of his dreams—except she’d rather read poetry and watch French New Wave films than hang out with him.

So he invents a “supplementary persona” called François Dillinger, a chain-smoking, suave individual who has both a way with the ladies and an utter lack of respect for authority—a wily façade who will stop at nothing to win her over. Directed by Miguel Arteta—who has previously been at the helm of episodes of Freaks & Geeks, Six Feet Under, The (US) Office and Miranda July’s excellent short film Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?—the film’s real power lies in its superlative supporting cast of Galifinakis, Buscemi, Ray Liotta, Justin Long, M. Emmet Walsh and the inimitable Fred Willard, all of whom have pitch-perfect comic timing that adds sparkle to what would otherwise have been a relatively small-time low-budget outing.