Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist Review
Arrested Development, Superbad, Juno, it’s fair to say that Michael Cera is hot property right now, and it looks like he’s pretty content playing exactly the same role in a series of quirky little teen comedies. Nick and Norah follows lovesick bass player Nick, who has recently broken up with popular highschool hotty Tris. Tris has a bitch-hate relationship with the introverted “sensitive” girl Norah, who takes a shine to Nick when she eyes him on stage at a late night gig. Sparks fly between the pair when Norah walks up to Nick and kisses him after Tris pokes fun of her being at the concert with no date. Norah doesn’t know Nick is Tris’ ex, but after the kiss the two are flung together on a long night in New York as they bond over music and scour the city for mysterious super-band Where’s Fluffy, who are playing a surprise gig in a secret location.
A rom-com featuring a promiscuous sex kitten who gets off on the effect she still has on her broken-hearted ex, a rom-com where the plain Jane clever girl is in fact a stone-cold knockout, who in reality would be beating men away with a stick – I bet you can’t guess what happens to little miss promiscuity when she witnesses sparks flying between her ex and the plain Jane! Oh yes, it’s safe to say Nick and Norah is not a particularly adventurous film, it seems today’s comedy filmmakers are as content as ever in churning out utterly clichéd plotlines, even when they follow through so completely in making every other aspect of the film off-kilter and alternative. Nick and Norah is what you’d call a spunky teen flick (in the non-fluidic sense), where the characters have personalities bordering on manic-depressive and communicate with an urbanity you wouldn’t find from your average angsty 17yr old. It has a kick ass alternative pop soundtrack and the script crackles with an infectiously gentle wit, and it actually uses its New York setting as a separate character in the story. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a little too generic to truly impress a grumpy 30yr old like myself, but if I were 12 years younger I’d probably be more inclined to be quite impressed by it.
The Disc: Presented in 1080p at 1.84:1, Nick and Norah has a quite a bright vivid image that is brought rather attractively to life on this blu-ray, colours are bold but nicely contained and the image is quite sharp, with no obvious signs of noise reduction and barely any edge enhancements. Contrast is naturalistic, while brightness levels are a little high with daytime scenes looking a little exposed and night time sequences having a blue tinge rather than deep blacks, but it seems like the intended look of the film. Compression on this AVC encode/BD-50 disc is pretty solid, although you can spot some mosquito noise around the opening credits. The print used is in excellent condition and grain ranges from a moderate to slightly thick, but sharply defined layer. The English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is suitably energetic and brings the upbeat soundtrack expressively to life, the audio dynamics are excellent, dialogue is crisp and clear, and while the soundstage isn’t exactly that broad it does the job.
Sony have provided a relatively modest but fun selection of extra features on this UK release, which seems to match their US release. The most substantial are the two audio commentaries, the first of which is the “Telestrator” commentary with director Peter Sollett and stars Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, and Ari Graynor, which is a rather rambling, playful track with the foursome doodling over the image. A second commentary features Sollett alongside scriptwriter Lorene Scafaria, and authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, who wrote the novel the feature is based on. This is a more involving, technical track that focuses on the making of the film and the writing of the novel and the correlations between the two. The rest of the extra features are less involving and mostly just pratting around by the actors, except for a Storyboards featurette that comes with a very informative commentary track by Peter Sollett and editor Myron Kerstein.