Nick (Michael Cera), is a young man with a very bright future and interesting life. He plays Bass in band and is about to start his college career at a music school in New England. Nick is a very open minded and mellow guy as he has no problem being the only straight guy in his band and cares deeply for his friends as they do about him.
On what should be a fantastic stage of life for Nick, he is lost in a sea of dismay over his recent breakup with Tris (Alexis Dziena). Nick spends his time leaving an endless stream of voicemails to Tris as well as a collection of mix CD’s much to her consternation as she basks in the glow of having broken Nick.
Nick is lured out of his house by his band to play a gig and spend the night in New York hoping to locate the secret locale where their favorite band is set to play later that evening. While Nick is clearly thinking of Tris, he is able to get through his concert until Tris shows up in the company of another guy.
At the same time, Norah (Kat Dennings), is at the concert and notices Nick. She is a casual friend of Tris and knows of the torment she has put Nick through but as yet does not know that the Bass player she is watching is actually the Nick that Tris gleefully admits cheating on during their 6 months as a couple.
Norah is in Tris’s circle largely through the grace of her friend Caroline (Ari Graynor), who is a free spirited party girl and who also wants to travel to New York for an evening of drinking, music, and trying to find the mystery locale of the secret concert.
It is against this backdrop that Nick and Norah meet, as fed up with the smug taunting of Tris, Norah claims she is at the club with someone and implores Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend before kissing him passionately.
With her world utterly knocked of kilter by seeing her ex with Norah, Tris becomes obsessed with getting Nick to pay attention to her, as the last thing her ego can take is for Nick to get over her and with Norah to boot.
As the evening unfolds Nick and Norah get closer to one another but as they do so, they spar over certain issues, especially when Tris is mentioned which often leads to tension in their budding relationship.
Further complicating matters is that Caroline has wandered off and Norah is anxious to find her drunk friend before she can get into trouble. What follows is a delightful story of love, music, relationships, and friendship as Nick and Norah take on the big city as well as their growing attraction to one another.
While this film easily could have become a paint by numbers formulaic comedy the film rides its appealing cast and the strong chemistry amongst the leads. It is very easy to believe the friendships amongst the groups as they are some of the most real people ever portrayed in a young adult comedy. Their conversations and mannerisms could easily be seen and overheard at any number of clubs and restaurants in any city. As the film went along, I found myself captivated not only by Cera and Dennings but by the mature way their characters dealt with the pending changes life is throwing at them. Nick is facing a future studying music, and Norah must decide between college and following in the footsteps of her famous father’s business.
While this has been done many times in film through countless coming of age stories, rarely has it been done in such a natural and realistic manner that is captivating to watch.
The film cleverly mixes in some subtle and outrageous humor which results in a winning formula and makes “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”, one of the most enjoyable times I have had at the movies this year.