Oh that Michael Cera. He’s such a chameleon on the big screen!
I’m kidding, of course. We’ve all been reading/hearing/saying for months now that Cera has been playing pretty much the same nerdy-awkward-hipster since breaking out in Arrested Development six years ago. New York magazine’s “Same Dude, Different Hoodie” piece from August is a hoot. And the New York Times Arts Beat blog recently posted a quick video interview with the actor in which he (awkwardly, natch) posits that it’s all just a question of what roles he’s offered. In any case, with yesterday’s news that his latest movie, Youth in Revolt, has been pushed to next year, Cera’s habit of playing uncannily similar characters has cropped up yet again.
In Youth in Revolt, Cera plays Nick Twisp, an intellectually sophisticated, yet unlucky-in-love high schooler with the hots for a pretty girl he meets over the summer. To muster up the courage to woo her, he imagines a mustachioed alter-ego named François Dillinger who has no problems seducing the ladies. (That’s Cera as Twisp and Dillinger in the picture above.) The movie got strong reviews out of Toronto, and I stumbled upon at least one blog today that claims that with Youth, Cera finally gets a break from “his character rut.” Presumably, that’s a reference to Dillinger who, yes, is the farthest thing from George-Michael Bluth that Cera has ever played. That said, we’re not talking departure on a Halle-Berry-in-Monster’s Ball scale here. Dillinger might smoke cigarettes and encourage Twisp to crash cars, but as you can see in the trailer below, he’s still a guy who speaks with that deadpan clipped irony — in other words, exactly what we’ve come to expect from Cera.
Adorable as he might be, audiences’ patience with his shtick is likely to wear thin soon. And I find it hard to believe that there won’t come a time when even Cera himself gets sick of playing the same backpack-toting cutie-pie nerd-hero. Personally, I’m curious to see what else the guy can do with his talents. So what should his next step be? Force himself to stretch beyond his comfort zone in a drama? Convince Sofia Coppola to write a Lost in Translation For a Twentysomething Boy-Man dramedy for him? What kind of role would you like to see Cera take on? And what do you hope he doesn’t do?