The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (2/3/2009)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including teen drinking, sexuality, language and crude behavior.

Directed by Peter Sollett

Starring Rafi Gavron, Michael Cera, Zachary Booth, Kat Dennings, Alexis Dziena, Jay Baruchel, Aaron Yoo and Ari Graynor

Todd's Rating: A Coaster

I was expecting the typical teenage high jinks movie…but this one surprised me, and not in a good way.

Nick (Michael Cera), the only straight band member of "The Jerk Offs" (that’s actually the least offensive name that the band comes up with) has recently been dumped by his girlfriend, Tris (Alexis Dziena). Nick thinks that he can win her back by sending her CD mixes that he has made especially for her. Although Tris throws them in the trash, her classmate, Norah (Kat Dennings), has retrieved most of them… and loves them. Even though Norah and Nick have never met, she loves his taste in music. The plot thickens when Norah and her friend Caroline are at a nightclub, that’s right, high schoolers at a night club. Nick’s band is playing and Tris shows up at the same club with her new boyfriend. Desperate not to appear desperate, Norah asks Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend for five minutes and gives him a big kiss. Now that Norah has Nick, Tris decides that she now wants him back. The rest of the night (and film) is spent searching for love, lost friends and the band "Where's Fluffy."

Technically, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist is a quality movie. The cast is full of some of Hollywood’s youngest and most talented actors. Whether he was George Michael in Arrested Development or Evan in Super Bad, Michael Cera has mastered the awkward but lovable geek role, and he delivers another solid performance here. As far as visually, there were times I felt like I was there. There is a great deal of attention given to details (like Nick’s room, house and car, as well as the clubs and restrooms). That being said, this movie was a coaster from beginning to end.

Jonathan and I have both said it before; there are plenty of PG-13 films that are more dangerous than some R-rated ones. And I definitely put Nick and Nora in that category. The movie starts with Nick leaving a “please take me back” voicemail that is awkward and funny. After that scene it is a raunch-fest with one coarse joke after another with a few gross-out scenes mixed in.

My biggest gripe is the total lack of consequences for any and all decisions. From sex and drugs to eating a piece of gum that fell into a public toilet, there are no consequences or even fear of consequences for any of the characters. Parents and teachers are completely absent and no one displays any sort of moral code. I actually found myself getting angry that my students were seeing this junk.

It’s another PG-13 coaster!

Recognizing that a majority of students have probably already seen it, let me encourage you to use it as a springboard to talk about consequences and immoral behavior. Otherwise it is an easy “No”; students should not see this movie.

Side Note:
As said above, we don't recommend your kids see this film. But on the occasion that they actually have already seen it, you may want to dialogue about the film with them. These questions below may be a help to you.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?

  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?

  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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