Youth in Revolt Review

Not much of Youth in Revolt is memorable. About ten minutes out of the movie from the time of this review, most of the film feels like a distant memory, the few bland R-rated jokes lost in a sea of teen sex comedies already forgotten.

It has flashes, glimpses if you want, that may stick around. Micheal Cera plays Michael Cera and a slightly evil-er (?) version of Michael Cera as he tries to get the girl of his teenage dreams. Since the good Michael Cera is too nice, he creates an alternate version of himself in an attempt to impress Sheeni (Portia Doubleday). This evil version is sort of entertaining, taking his parents car and trailer with the full intention of blowing them up. He does, sending them down a steep street incline, causing multiple pile-ups and blowing up a building.

That’s memorable if only for its absurdity, taking the whole notion of doing anything for love to the level of potentially killing many people. Cera’s avoidance of local law enforcement also has a great moment at the end, which spoiling would ruin one of the funniest moments of the film.

Characters like to jump in and out of this story, like Cera’s neighbor Mr. Ferguson (Fred Willard). He is introduced early and briefly, and comes back into the script late as if he were suddenly upgraded to main character status. Sheeni’s brother Paul (Justin Long), constantly high, literally appears in a single scene with about 30-minutes to go and has major plot implications. Zach Galifianakis has a thankless and short-lived role as Cera’s step father while Steve Buscemi is Cera’s real father. The latter has a bizarre, out of place sequence where Cera enters into an oddly real fight over a phone call, hardly appropriate for the otherwise goofy, light tone at work.

All of the sexual misadventures feel familiar, such as Cera and his new high school friend (also randomly introduced and dropped) sneaking into the all-girl school Sheeni is attending. It ends predictably, although admittedly amusingly so without much flair.

Adapted from a C.D. Payne novel (adapted for the screen by Gustin Nash), Youth in Revolt seems held back or restrained. Early scenes involving Cera’s friend discussing his awkwardly slanted penis set the tone for a Superbad style comedy, yet that all but disappears later. At least the film consistently drops things.

Movie ★★★☆☆ 

Sony delivers an outstanding AVC encode for Youth in Revolt, one immediately commendable for its color. Brightly saturated primaries give the image pop, from the clothing to the environments. Aided by stable blacks, the video carries a fine sense of dimensionality. The contrast is always bright as well.

The opening credits are greeted by a fun miniature model sequence detailing the family’s move, a wonderfully crisp and detailed scene. All of the miniature trees and other foliage set the stage for what is to come in terms of the environments. At 16:27, the first sequence outside of Sheeni’s dual-floor trailer is spectacular, and that look is maintained. All of the plants are perfectly rendered with exquisite detail. Every sequence inside that forest are superlative, the best this disc has to offer. Other locations, outside the school at 46:19 for example, showcase a flawless road texture and all of the bricks on the building (deep into the frame mind you) are visible.

It is a shame facial detail doe not hold firmly. It disappears in the mid-range, and in-close can be hard to spot. Extreme close-ups are exceptional, but they should be. As Cera applies lotion to Sheeni, small hairs are visible on her skin. A slight mustache can be seen on Cera’s face. It’s all there and easy to spot in these rare situations.

There is some general inconsistency with the transfer. Sporadic softness is notable, such as 34:39 in the kitchen. Some aliasing is noted a few shots before on the laptop screen (32:41). There seem to be no issues with the encode, the lightest of grain structures hardly even notable. In fact, this could have been shot partially on digital as well. No information is out there on the specifics.

Video ★★★★☆ 

The sequence of note for Youth in Revolt’s DTS-HD affair is the trailer explosion. As it passes by baffled motorists, it delivers a satisfying jolt in the subwoofer. Smashing cars deliver clean glass shattering and crushing metal, certainly enough to be notable. When the explosions happen though, the low-end is a bit of a letdown. It lacks the impact that the mix was building towards, as if it were a tease. It still delivers somewhat of a boom, just a weak one.

There are few opportunities to utilize the surrounds, leaving the soundtrack as the only choice. Thankfully it does bleed nicely, creating a nice layer of ambiance to the proceedings. A late tune, at 1:03:00, makes great use of the available bass. Lyrics and instrumentals are clean. Dialogue is consistently firm and reproduced well.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

A commentary from Miguel Arteta and Michael Cera is first in the extra menu, followed by a collection of nine deleted scenes that run 10:48. Five additional animated sequences (some that are extended from the finished film) last a little over seven minutes. A selection of five audition tapes (7:45), trailers, and BD-Live support round the disc off.

Extras ★★☆☆☆