“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”: A nice night on the town

Tue, 10/07/2008 - 3:57pm
By: Michael Boylan


The new romantic comedy “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” won’t split your sides, bust your gut or sting your knee with lots of slapping. It will entertain and amuse you though, as it has you tapping your toe to that “infinite playlist” of indie and college rock (bands you’ve never heard from but will probably want to look up after the film).

Nick is a bassist for a band that has a gig at small club in New York City. He is trying to get over his latest break-up with Tris and is not doing a very good job. Norah, a classmate and “frenemy” of Tris’, is at the show and when Tris gets on to her about not having a boyfriend, Norah claims that she is going out with Nick, whom she doesn’t even know. Nick and Norah then spend some time together in the city searching for a band playing a secret show and also trying to find Norah’s drunken friend Caroline who has run off into the city.

“Nick and Norah” has more in common with Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise,” than Martin Scorcese’s “After Hours,” although “Nick and Norah” has more plot than in “Before Sunrise” and its sequel “Before Sunset” combined. Still, the films are about young people finding a connection to each other as they find themselves and they are set against marvelous backdrops. Director Peter Sollett pens his love song to the neighborhoods of New York City, the city that never sleeps, and keeps the audience awake as the night progresses and Nick and Norah find what they are looking for in each other.

I must be getting old though, because there were several times I wondered what the parents of these two high schoolers must be thinking with their kids out at 5 a.m. at diners, bars and clubs in New York City. Nick and Norah are both straight-edge (no drinking or drugs), but come on. My curfew in high school was midnight, I think, and if I was out later than that it required a lot of subterfuge.

“Nick and Norah” has a lot going for it. Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are cute as the titular couple, Ari Graynor as drunk Caroline is a hoot and there are some great cameos from some Saturday Night Live stars. The music is what brings Nick and Norah together though and it is a big plus in the film too. It made me want to go through some of my old mixes or make my girl a new one.

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