Just Push Play: YPG Book to Film Enjoys Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

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For the latest popcorn-filled installment of YPG’s Book to Film Club, 23 YPG members from more than 12 publishing houses and literary agencies gathered at Scholastic (located at 557 Broadway) on Wednesday, February 22, at 7:00 pm to watch the film adaptation of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2006) by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. The book follows one wild night in the lives of two teenagers on Manhattan’s Lower East Side music scene and beyond.

The film adaptation was released in 2008 and was directed by Peter Sollett. It stars Michael Cera as Nick and Kat Dennings as Norah, and features Jay Baruchel as Tal. There are also a number of brief but memorable cameos by Seth Myers, Andy Samberg, John Cho, Eddie Kaye Thomas, and Kevin Corrigan. Several YPG members had actually seen the film before and were looking forward to watching it again after having now read the book. Many were interested to see how the dual (and dueling) narratives of Nick and Norah would translate to the big screen.

After the infinite playlist ended and the credits started rolling, the group agreed that the film’s plot veered sharply from the events of the book. One member noted that Norah’s insecurities were largely emphasized in the film over Nick’s. Ex-girlfriend Tris (played adequately by Alexis Dziena) also felt more two-dimensional and unlikeable in the film. Many found it hard to believe that she would date Nick in the first place (though Cera’s awkwardness and omnipresent wholesomeness may be to blame for this).

Members did agree that the search for Norah’s lost friend Caroline (played by Ari Graynor, acting appropriately inappropriate) added purpose and adventure to the film, in addition to the group’s quest to locate a secret concert by local band Where’s Fluffy?. These changes worked well, and the increased presence of Caroline and Nick’s bandmates added cohesion and a forward dynamic that was often missing in Levithan and Cohn’s story.

Oddly enough, it was noted that music seemed to play a less integral role in the film than it did in the book, acting more as background noise rather than the pulse and heart of the narrative. The soundtrack was still strong, though, and Cera and Dennings’s sweet and engaging performances helped carry the film. The Club consensus was that Nick and Norah translated well to the screen, changes, random cameos, and all.

Next up for the Book to Film Club is All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf/Random House). The 2000 film stars Matt Damon and the screening will take place on Wednesday, April 18, at the AAP New York offices (71 Fifth Avenue, second floor) at 7:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

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