Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a late-teen romantic comedy equal parts Superbad and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Nick (Micheal Cera) is a soft-spoken alt-kid who plays bass in a band that can’t decide on a name; his girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena) broke up with him a month ago, and he’s spent the days in between making her one brilliant mix tape after another that she doesn’t appreciate. Norah (Kat Dennings), a classmate of Tris’, has a secret crush on the man behind the mixes, even though she’s never met him. The pair inevitably collides after one of Nick’s Manhattan gigs. Desperate to put an end to Tris’ taunting about her singledom, Norah claims she actually came with someone, grabs Nick, and asks him to just deal with making out with her. Sparks instantly fly and the two, along with their friends, begin a night-long quest to find love, purpose, and a mysterious band called Where’s Bunny? that hops back and forth across the city for secret shows.
At just less than 90 minutes, Nick and Norah couldn’t possibly feel long, but it’s difficult not to feel tired by the time the credits roll. The characters crisscross Manhattan through adventures and emotional highs and lows — including a string of celebrity cameos and a rather creative sexual encounter in a recording studio — that rightly leaves audiences feeling just as worn out by the time the sun finally rises. Director Peter Sollett wisely avoids going Apatow with the jokes, opting for a more mature and sometimes even magical tone to support screenwriter Lorene Scafaria’s adaptation of the novel. New York City rarely feels as fantastical as it does here; it’s a world where teenagers never have trouble ordering a beer, never wait in club lines, and, best of all, never have trouble parking in the parking-nightmare capital of the world. You can’t help but feel anything is possible for Nick, Norah, and everyone they come in contact with.