January 5, 2010

What she watched: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

I'd been hanging to see the movie of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist ever since I read the book in 2008, but somehow it never made it to the big screen in Melbourne (or if it did I blinked and missed it). Then I had to wait what felt like an eternity for it to come out on DVD. Then I had to wait for my little local DVD shop to get a copy. (At this point, Netflix starts to seem like a good idea.) So when Mr fantapants and I finally sat down to watch it on Sunday night, I was more than a little excited.

The opening credits were good. The intro to the main characters was fine (although Michael Cera's Nick could have been less pathetico, even in the opening scene). And it was kind of downhill from there.

I know book-to-movie adaptations always risk not living up to the pictures readers have in their heads, but - even though it'd been a long time since I read the book, and I was hazy on the finer plot details - about 5 minutes in, I realised that this was not the movie of the book I'd loved.

It had (some of) the same characters and some of the same incidents, but there was so much that it didn't capture. Like the fact that Nick is not a doormat. He's had his heart broken, yes, but he's not some weak, timid dweeb. And (although I thought Kat Dennings' performance was excellent) Norah is not the sort of girl who'd put on a push-up bra to get a guy to notice her (esp. not if said bra was given to her by said guy's friend - ugh). It didn't help that some of the scenes that had been added to the screenplay made my skin crawl (Tris dancing/stripping in front of Nick's car; the ridiculous pseudo sex scene at the recording studio).

I grabbed the book off my shelf on the way out the door yesterday morning to flick through on the bus and see if my discomfort about the film adaptation was warranted. Page 1 - the moment I read Nick's narrative voice - confirmed my suspicions. By chapter 5 I was in love with the book all over again.

As a film, I quite enjoyed Nick and Norah, but I can't help thinking it should have been renamed in acknowledgement of the fact that it is not the same story as the book. If I hadn't spent so much of the movie comparing the two, I might have enjoyed it even more.

Book: *****
Movie: ***

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