It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
There is one merciful element to "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist." The playlist is not infinite. The movie trudges around the Lower East Side of Manhattan in pursuit of a group of 17-somethings who are desperately seeking a mysterious band named Where's Fluffy. Clues are posted on the walls of toilet stalls, which are an unreliable source of information.
Nick and Norah have no relationship to the hero and heroine of "The Thin Man," which I urgently advise you to watch instead of this film. That movie stars William Powell as a man who steadily drinks martinis and is never more than half-percolated. This one has a Best Friend character named Caroline (Ari Graynor) who drinks, I forget, I think it was banana daiquiris, and gets so drunk, she ends up near Times Square in a toilet in the bus terminal, where she is fishing, not for Where's Fluffy clues, but for her gum, which fell into the toilet while she was vomiting. Didn't Ann Landers warn that this was one of the danger signals of alcoholism?
Nick and Norah are played by Michael Cera, best remembered as the boyfriend in "Juno," and Kat Dennings, best known for "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," where she played anything but. They work well together, are appealing and desperately require material as good as those films. Here they're not stupid; it's just that they're made to act stupidly. There's not much to recommend an all-night search through the dives of Manhattan for a lost friend who makes Britney Spears seem like a stay-at-home.
The two meet at a club, when Norah needs Nick to pose as her boyfriend to make her ex-boyfriend jealous. He is named Tal (Jay Baruchel). My first Chicago girlfriend was named Tal, which is Hebrew for "the morning dew." I don't think he knows that. So then, let's see, the plot requires an ex-girlfriend for Nick. This is Tris (Alexis Dziena), a blond vixen of the type that in most teeny movies is infinitely unattainable for nice kids like Nick.