To begin with Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist has nothing at all to do with The Thin Man. On the other hand it does remind me of the screwball romantic comedies of the 1930s. There are significant differences though: the characters are somewhat younger; the music is different; and there’s this really gross running gag involving chewing gum…
Nick (Michael Cera), a high school student from New Jersey, has been pining over a girl who dumped him, moping around and sending her a series of hand-decorated mix CDs. His buddies (Aaron Yoo and Rafi Gavron) have lined up a gig in The City for their band (“The Jerk Offs”) and drag him off to play with them.
Nick’s ex-girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena) is your standard-issue cute-shallow type. Her friend Norah (Kat Dennings) has been collecting the mix CDs that Tris has been throwing away and listening to them. (The conceit, of course, is that you can identify your soulmate by a similar taste in music. It would be nice if things were that simple.)
Norah’s friend Caroline (Ari Graynor) talks her into going clubbing in The City. Caroline is planning on getting plastered and wants Norah to be there to look out for her.
The outcome of a story like this is pretty much obvious from the start. The fun is seeing how you get there. Though a complicated series of coincidences and mistakes the characters end up spending the night in a disorganized search for a mysterious band called “Where’s Fluffy” and/or the sozzled Caroline.
It’s all inconsequential, but pretty cute and funny. However you may want to close your eyes whenever chewing gum appears on the screen.