Sunday, November 30, 2008

print versus screen: nick and norah's infinite playlist

i am inordinately fond of young adult fiction. some of it is terrible and trashy, but there are some real, serious, literary novels, such as laurie halse andersen's speak. but the book/movie pairing i'm going to cover is a little more frivolous and fun, but is also a really good, fun read and an enjoyable (for the most part) movie-viewing experience.

nick and norah's infinite playlist [the book] and nick and norah's infinite playlist [the movie] are simply good fun. the book is composed of alternating chapters told from either nick or norah's point of view and cover the events of one (special and amazing) night. The book leaves you feeling good, as if anything were possible--it captures the possiblities of adolescence perfectly. The book is inherently sweet, though not saccharine, touching on homosexuality and promiscuity as a matter of course. nick and norah find themselves thrown together and then in pursuit of each other and the novel's conceit of alternating points of view really works because you can see what the main characters are both thinking.

you do lose this in the movie, which also loses some of the book's edgy coolness and wanders into the realm of standard teenage fare, complete with gross out humor--a scene involving a piece of gum and a port authority toilet comes to mind here. not originally in the book, the sole purpose of that scene is to speak to a puerile teen-aged boy. well, the scene does indeed speak, although if you have a sensitive gag reflex you might want to look away or come prepared with a barf bag. michael cera and kat dennings do some fine work bringing both lead characters to life. an all in all, i can say that the film has done a wonderful job in keeping the book's sweeter nature alive. and they are both truly enjoyable experiences.

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