Of Course I Was Disappointed By Youth In Revolt

How could I not be, it’s a 90 minute adaptation of a 500-page novel. If I’d never read the book, I suppose I would’ve liked it. It’s a funny enough flick, it certainly had good source material, and the actors play their parts well. The problem is, they’re not playing the characters from the book.

First off, Nick’s parents are completely redeemable human beings in this movie. In the book, Nick’s home life sets the initial tone and remains miserable no matter which parent is doing the torturing. He’s also 14, not 16, which makes the fact that he’s better off living without George or Estelle Twisp even more striking. In the movie, they barely have time to acknowledge these characters as annoying, let alone the abusive bastards who use Nick as a conduit for alimony extortion.

Then there’s Sheeni, whom I really liked in this movie. Which is the problem. Sheeni is a cunt. Both the reader and Nick spend the entire book wondering how truthful she is, and whether or not she actually cares for him. She’s ruthlessly cunning and manipulates Nick at every turn, while using him in one way or another to further her own goals. And when the two finally unite in the bizarrely happy(ish) ending, you don’t get the feeling that they are meant to be together for long. Thankfully, C.D. Payne put out the rest of the series and settled the debate.

The rest of the cast becomes tragically one-dimensional as a result of the time constraints. Trent, Nick’s adversary in love, is not at all the scorned ex boyfriend seeking revenge. In fact, he’s an oddly honorable and likable guy; which makes Nick’s blind hatred of him all the more hilarious, and the end to the series excellently ironic. And Paul, good Christ, they couldn’t spend another minute on explaining Sheeni’s awesomely clairvoyant brother? They cut out all of his oddly omniscient conversations with Nick and left in everything having to do with drugs.

And the narrative was gone. The book itself reads a lot like a screenplay intermixed with a kid’s journal, and I always thought it would make an excellent TV series or series of films. Unfortunately, they cut out almost all of Nick’s narration of events, which usually bled into and out of normally scripted scenes. It was a cheap but effective way to add a lot of depth to the character and his interactions, not to mention the fact that some of the best lines in the book are told via first-person narrative or internal monologue.

It’s a fun flick, and I defnitely recommend seeing it. But as someone who’s read the book a good dozen times over the years, I found it decidedly lacking.

Categorized as News

By Sharkey

I run bamf.

1 comment

  1. Well said, Sharkey. I read the book shortly before the movie came out and came to the same conclusions. At least it was very funny… and the claymation was ghey.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *