Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a 2008 comedy about two teenagers searching for love and their drunken friend on a crazy night in New York City. Michael Cera is Nick and Kat Dennings is Norah, and together they are Nick & Norah, and they have an infinite playlist. Nick has recently been dumped by his girlfriend, Tris (played by Alexis Dziena) and spends his days making mix CDs in an attempt to win her back. What he doesn’t know is that Tris simply throws them away. Norah has never met Nick, but she appreciates his taste in music and rescues his mix CDs from the trash. She has a slight crush on Nick because of this, even though she’s never met him.
Nick’s two gay bandmates are tired of him moping around and they drag him out for a night on the town when they find out that his favorite band is playing a secret show somewhere in the city. Norah also finds out about the show, and she recruits her friend, Caroline (Ari Graynor), to help her track down the band. All the main characters end up at the same club, and Tris starts giving Norah grief for showing up alone. Norah lies and says that she’s there with her boyfriend to save face. Then she asks Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend and kisses him, unaware that this is the same guy that has been sending all those mixes to Tris. The gay bandmates see this and decided to set up Nick with Norah. They offer to drive Caroline home (who is now super drunk), so that Norah and Nick can get to know each other while they look for the secret show.
Nick starts the night obsessing over Tris, but he gradually starts noticing Norah. Norah has a guy on the side (Jay Burachel) that complicates things a bit. Nick and Norah spend the night together getting to know each other, and naturally the bandmates somehow lose Caroline, and they have to search for her drunk ass and find clues as to where the band is going to play. Tris is now jealous of Norah and spends the rest of the night trying to get Nick’s attention. Will Nick and Norah end up together? Will they ever find the drunk girl? Will they ever find the secret gig?
The acting is so-so. It’s yet another Michael Cera film where he plays Michael Cera. Kat Dennings looks like she’s about to fall asleep at any moment. She looks bored even when she’s smiling. I have to give credit to Ari Graynor playing the blacked out Caroline. She has some of the best moments in the film, and she drives the story in a lot of ways.
This is a pretty serviceable high school movie, but it’s really not that good. There are a few things that bug me. First of all, the main characters are all in high school, but the movie takes place entirely at night in New York City. And they go to a bunch of clubs looking for the band… those clubs can’t be cool if they let fucking 18-year-olds in. My biggest beef upon reflection is that Nick and Norah are both straight edge. They don’t drink or do drugs. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, but it annoys the shit out of me. It’s a teen comedy. Why are the two main characters sober? It’s preachy. It’s boring. It would never happen in real life. You can’t stay up all night in NYC unless you’re being fueled by something illegal.
Critically Rated at 12/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young