Youth in Revolt

Rated 3.0

The first of C.D. Payne’s popular six-novel series, known collectively as The Journals of Nick Twisp, finally becomes a movie courtesy of screenwriter Gustin Nash, director Miguel Arteta and, in a duel starring role, star Michael Cera. It’s not extraordinary, but it is a good time—both an old-fashioned picaresque, in which a teenager’s intense summer-vacation romance drives him to episodic rascality, and the faddish epitome of perk-’n’-quirk packaging, whose animated interludes and indie-pop soundtrack call to mind the Cera-intensive Paper Heart and Juno. But Cera’s Twisp and his havoc-wreaking, mustachioed alter ego “Francois Dillinger” combine drolly with each other and with castmates including Steve Buscemi, Zach Galifianakis, Ray Liotta and, particularly, a young temptress played by Portia Doubleday. Youth in Revolt gives us another angle on the Cera shtick. It lets him play the straight man to himself.