Youth in Revolt is a rehash of your typical youth comedy about a teenage virgin boy struggling to find more excitement in his dull life. As expected, the story takes off when he finally gets the chance to be with a “too good to be true dream girl.”
Michael Cera is a good buy for this type of character. And while he and the film’s ensemble cast try their best to make things work for this dark teen comedy, the film doesn’t go beyond the surface of its good intentions. As it attempts to dig deeper, it gets too episodic and shapeless that the animated interludes become too trying hard. As a comedy about delinquency and adolescent sexual obsession, this too self-aware movie adaptation of a C.D. Payne 1993 novel runs out of inspiration. Some of the absurdist humor found within certain scenes work, but such elements are not enough to allow the film to really shine. This film directed by Miguel Arteta is too messy and uneven in its uncomfortable pace, and at some point, it goes the pretentious route. It lacks genuine poignancy as an oddball adolescent story.
As a coming-of-age comedy, Youth in Revolt gets to establish something witty for itself, but the execution detaches it from the queer world in which it is set and the characters that inhabit it. The film’s supposedly strong points lose their ways when the primary motivation gets abandoned by mere expositions of dysfunctional family scenes, drug sequences, lustful teens, and cartoon inserts. It goes the artsy fartsy route in a not so good light.
Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) yearns for some sexual action while the rest of the people around him, regardless of who they are and where they are, satisfy their daily sexual needs without effort. It seems like he never inherited any good genes from his divorced parents (Jean Smart and Steve Buscemi) who always have good times for their own promiscuous lives.
Like how he hates his name, he also despises the life he has. This affable teen with a taste for Frank Sinatra and Federico Fellini finally gets a chance to be on top of his pathetic adolescent game when he meets the love of his life; and the best thing is, she reciprocates the feeling. He gets into a mutual understanding with the beautiful, free-spirited Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) while on a family vacation. However, they are set apart by external forces, which then creates Nick’s dark alter ego by the name of Francois. As he abandons his dull, predictable life fully inspired by Sheeni and pushed to the limits through the mustached chain-smoker Francois, he develops a rebellious side. He will do everything to become a deserving bad guy whom Sheeni wants him to be.
The Youth in Revolt DVD is presented in widescreen format (1:85 aspect ratio) with Dolby mix and English subtitles and English closed-captioning options. This R-rated Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release is a typical DVD technically polished in its audio-visual form. Its packaging keeps up with its rebellious theme especially when glancing at its cover art. The DVD features a couple of extras. There is a full-length audio commentary with director Miguel Arteta and main actor Michael Cera sounding considerably dull and dry for the regular viewer, but can be of interest to the fans of the book that inspired the movie. There is also a featurette with nine deleted scenes from short dialogue trims to a claymation sequence. The collection of cuts both live action and animation look quite interesting. The five audition tapes featurette runs about seven minutes long and features a couple of cast members including Portia Doubleday, Zach Galifianakis, Jonathan Wright, and Adhir Kalyan.
Youth in Revolt in a 50GB dual-layered Blu-ray disc provides a quality video transfer in 1080p AVC MPEG-4 codec with 1:85 aspect ratio. The warm color palette of the film is nicely rendered and the colors pop out with fine details from the creases on the backyard tent to the pores on the faces. There is also a thin veneer of film grain adding texture and atmosphere. There are some scenes that have uneven grading, but overall, this Blu-ray presentation is visually pleasing.
For its audio, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack works well for this kind of movie. There’s no much panning here and there, among other sound innovations to boost like how the typical summer popcorn flick may have, but it has basically everything to expect for such a genre’s audio track. Overall, it delivers quality ambience throughout the movie while other sound elements get their good moments in selected scenes. The sound mix is often played subdued for this dialogue-driven film; yet, it has a good heft and sense of aural space when required by the more emotional and action-filled moments.
The audio commentary, like how it is in the DVD, is pretty bland for most viewers to appreciate. It has some interesting information, but they don’t elevate the 90-minute commentary’s underwhelming presentation. It has the same deleted scenes as in the DVD and they are thrown with extra visual perk in HD format. BD-LIVE offers a useful interactive feature with the movieIQ+sync that allows the viewer to connect in real-time to gather information about the cast, music, trivia and other significant information about the movie.