A couple of New Jersey teenagers fall in love in the course of one kind of crazy, unpredictable and music-filled night in New York City, in a new comedy adapted from a novel popular with American high school kids. Alan Silverman has this look at Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist.
Nick is struggling to cope with the end of his relationship with high school heartbreaker Triss. His friends urge him to move on, but Nick, a born romantic, can't help but try one more time with a CD of songs he hopes will win her back.
Nick and his friends have a rock band with a date to play at a club across the Hudson River in New York. They convince him to do the gig. They need him - he's the bass player; but they also hope it will help him forget the broken heart. Of course, who should be in the club crowd but Triss - with her new boyfriend. As luck would have it, as Nick is trying to get away from the scene, so too is Norah, another classmate from their high school who is trying to avoid Triss.
To Nick's amazement, Norah impulsively kisses him; to both of their amazement, the kiss is really something special ...and it begins a nightlong odyssey through the streets of Manhattan as they try to find the club where a mystery rock band named "Fluffy" is playing ...try to find a friend accidentally lost in the city ...and, along the way, find they are falling in love.
Michael Cera, co-star of SuperBad and Juno is Nick.
"I thought that people of all ages would relate to it in some way," he says. "Maybe not the specific things that we're doing like looking for a band; but definitely connecting with someone in one night is something that anyone can relate to and I think that's really what the movie is about."
Kat Dennings, one of the sorority sisters in the recent hit comedy House Bunny, plays Norah; and the two co-stars say they hope fans of the 2006 novel by Rachel Cohen and David Levithan are okay with the screen version.
" I felt like there was no way I could go into doing it without reading the book," Dennings says. "That would seem like a disservice to everybody involved."
"And to fans of the book," adds Cera.
"Yeah ..there are things I had no control over like Norah wears a plaid flannel shirt through the book and it's a huge part of her character," Dennings notes. "I tried really hard to get that in the movie, but it didn't happen ...so I'm sorry book fans. I know they're a little upset."
"But the heart of the book is there," Cera adds.
The pulse of the movie is the infinite playlist of rock music that - like teens almost everywhere - is the soundtrack to Nick and Norah's story. Director Peter Sollett believes the contemporary mix strikes a chord with today's young audiences.
"I wasn't very worried about the songs dating the film because I want the film to be dated," he says. "I know people think that it's bad when films are dated, but I think it's a positive thing when films are dated because I think it means that the film is specific and comes from a specific place at a specific time from people who have a specific taste. I think those things make something special, possibly, and it doesn't limit their appeal; I think it expands it. I just wanted it to be from New York in 2008."
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist also features Ari Graynor as Norah's perpetually inebriated best friend. Aaron Yoo is Nick's gay bandmate and helpful romance advisor. Alexis Dziena plays the unattainable Triss. The film was shot on location in Manhattan and features many local bands popular on the New York rock scene.