Director Miguel Arteta adapts C.D. Payne's 1993 novel to predictably comic, if not full-blown, outrageous effect. Michael Cera is well cast as Nick Twisp, the precocious lust-driven teenage son of separated low-life parents played by Steve Buscemi and Jean Smart. Nick hopes for an end to his virginity when he runs into the similarly nerdy but super-cute Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday). Some ill-conceived advice from Sheeni — that he become a bad boy — prompts Nick to create a dual identity in order to win over Sheeni.
Thanks to a pencil-thin mustache and Euro-chic clothes, Nick reinvents himself as Franois, an alter ego with a penchant for various criminal shenanigans involving cars, drugs and fire.
Over the course of just a few films, Cera has established himself as one of the most enjoyable young comics of his generation. Cera’s scenes with Ray Liotta (as a local cop dating Nick's mom) are priceless. He might not be Holden Caulfield, but in this day and age Nick represents a fresh breeze of youthful rebellion. Grade: B
Opens Jan. 8. Check out theaters and show times, see more photos from the film and get theater details here.