Movie Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)


Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Photo: Columbia Pictures

I was excited to see this film and in talking with friends I know I was not the only one. The trailer was filled with fantastic clips and scenes of a film I knew I would love. Michael Cera may be playing the same character over and over again, but it works and it looked like it would work again. I just saw Kat Dennings in The House Bunny and thought she looked great in what appeared to be (and was) a completely different role. To go along with it all, the title itself promoted what I expected to be a great soundtrack. Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived and is encapsulated in that two minute trailer. This film doesn’t offer much more anything more than the trailer showed and it was truly disappointing.

Cera stars as Nick, something of a geeky guitarist in a small band. He just broke up with his stuck-up ex-girlfriend (Alexis Dziena) and is in a funk. He continues to make a series of mix CDs in an attempt to get her back, and when she throws them away Norah (Dennings) fishes them out of the garbage and has created something of a distant crush on a boy she doesn’t even know. A series of events find Nick and Norah bumbling around New York City in search of Norah’s lost friend the two ultimately fall for one another.

The “infinite playlist” angle hardly plays a role. The music doesn’t bowl you over and is not at all memorable. As the film plays out one of the plot threads guiding the story is the search for something of a cult-favorite rock band at a secret location and on the way music is played, but I didn’t find any of it to be good or even decent.

As it turns out Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a 90-minute flick that feels as if it is almost two hours long. Each scene seems to start the story over again as it runs in circles ultimately ending exactly where you expect it to. The only big surprise was an Andy Samberg cameo as a bum that lasted about 30 seconds. Unfortunately I now see some of that cameo in the latest trailers, which means folks are hardly going to get any unexpected laughs or sentimentality out of this film because it just isn’t there. Perhaps if you haven’t seen the trailer you can find some enjoyment, but I still think this is a film best served as a trailer rather than a feature length movie.