Just because I think Youth in Revolt is less than daisy fresh as a coming-of-age story doesn’t mean I don’t dig the unique comedic talents of the movie’s star, Michael Cera. And in thinking about what makes Cera so arresting a screen presence, I keep coming back to the notion of contradiction: He looks so young (he is so young) and vulnerably, virginally mid-chrysalis, with that pale skinny bod and cute chickpea head. Yet Cera possesses the expert comic timing and physical stillness of a man of experience. And certainly of a seasoned character actor. Very few young performers know how to convey hormonal frenzy and accompanying romantic confusion as well as he does, just by standing still and speaking in a soft, clear voice; even fewer know how to demonstrate what’s simultaneously funny and tender about such male emotional disarray.
Cera’s got that going on. The challenge, should he care to rise to it as he enters his 20s, is how to play guys who are no longer stuck pining for young women – they’ve Done It – but now face the (inevitably hilarious) challenges of sustaining relationships with chicks.
Your turn: Do you like the species known as Michael Cera Dude?
Image credits: Doane Gregory (l); Bruce Birmelin