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Youth in Revolt

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Youth in Revolt Movie Poster Image
Story of "bad-boy" teen is funny, but also rough and raw.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

While the lead character pays a certain price for his transgressions, things still work out relatively well for him in the end, despite his iffy, ill-considered behavior.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lead character Nick Twisp -- a teen anti-hero -- is a model of problematic behavior (from crime to smoking to sex), even with his intrinsic sweetness.


Some scuffling; some vehicular damage; some chase scenes. Explosions, arson.


Extensive discussions about and depictions of sex, including masturbation, kissing, condom use, and intercourse. Some male shirtlessness.


Constant strong language, including "s--t," "a--hole," "f--k" (and many variations on it), "bitch," "prick," "dick," "p---y," "bulls--t," "hell," "ass," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Copious comedic smoking by a high school boy's alter ego; also smoking by adults and references to alcohol. Extensive references to marijuana and "magic mushrooms," including unaware persons eating a meal dosed with said mushrooms. A boy surreptitiously has a girl's food and drink laced with sleeping pills without her knowledge so she'll flunk out of school.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although Youth in Revolt stars teen fave Michael Cera, this isn't his typical goofy/sweet role. The movie -- which is based on the same-named novel by C.D. Payne, which is also big with teens -- is full of sex, drugs, and bad behavior, including criminal activity, sexual activity, and drug use. All of this involves high-school aged kids, and while many of the film's more outlandish acts are carried out by the main character's alter ego, they still affect other characters. They also have some ramifications (including punishment), but ultimately the main character doesn't suffer too much -- so be ready to talk to your teens about real-life consequences for iffy behavior, no matter how "cool" it might seem. Expect lots of strong language (including "s--t," "f--k," and more) and a lot of sexual talk and references (including masturbation and condom use).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 11, 2010

Too quirky for my taste

If you're a fan of Indie films, then you'll probably like it. If you're a fan of Michael Cera, then you'll probably like it. Otherwise, you... Continue reading
Parent of a 4 year old Written byselenium_user12... January 7, 2011
Teen, 16 years old Written bybradley4846 June 23, 2010
The book is REALLY explicit. so i thought, how will a movie happen... overall, it was a good adaptation, i ddnt love some of the things they changed but... Se... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byohlawlz January 15, 2010

Awesome movie

This movie had me laughing almost throughout. It's a well made story, good acting, and hilarious characters put together. Of course on top of all that is a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Exiled to a trailer park by his divorced mother and father's reduced circumstances, Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is hating life ... aside from the presence of girl-next-trailer Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), who immediately inspires Nick's affections. But those affections are upset by Sheeni's devout parents' plans to send her off to boarding school. Undaunted, Nick creates a swaggering bad-boy alter-ego named Francois Dillinger who has the guts and cool to pull off schemes that Nick would never attempt -- and proceeds to pursue Sheeni far beyond the bounds of reasonable behavior.

Is it any good?

Based on a popular cult novel, YOUTH IN REVOLT is a wild, raucous tale of mad young love and remarkably bad behavior that also serves as a great showcase for teen actor Cera. He plays both hero Nick and -- thanks to the miracle of computer effect -- his alter ego Francois to well-honed comedic effect. Cera is best known for being the stumbling, mumbling nice guy; Francois finally gives him a chance to strut and swagger, and he blossoms into it. The nicely tuned supporting cast -- including Justin Long, Fred Willard, Ray Liotta, and Jean Smart -- also wrings nice moments out of the script in brief, brisk scenes.

The movie's road-trip narrative makes for a fairly episodic story, and some of Nick's attempts and actions in pursuit of Sheeni's affections are decidedly desperate, dangerous, and deranged; if you're looking for a story with a moral ending, you may want to look elsewhere. But Youth in Revolt has enough chaotic charm and feral funny stuff to make it a bizarre, blackly comedic entry in the teen-flick canon.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the themes the film explores -- do teens have to act up, act out, and make mistakes? And does that really make them more interesting, charismatic, and attractive?

  • What are the challenges of depicting teen life in print and on film? Do teens respond to more realistic (or exciting) depictions of teen life than parents may feel comfortable with?

  • How does the film depict drug use? What are the real-life ramifications of drug use -- and the real consequences?

  • What messages does the movie send about teen sex? Parents, take this opportunity to talk with your teens about your family's values.

Movie details

For kids who love comedies

Our editors recommend

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