Juno continues to poison American independent cinema. The first symptom of this in Miguel Arteta's adaptation of C.D. Payne's novel is Michael Cera, who once again plays a role he will never outgrow: a virginal, pallid dork with a kooky name (Nick Twisp) who drones on with a coy, unclever voiceover narration. (Those who require further evidence might note that he starts off the movie by masturbating.)
Twisp, like Juno, excels at pseudo-erudition. But his family situation sucks — he lives with his trailer-trash divorced mom and her redneck, meth-snorting boyfriend.
To escape this malaise, he invents an alter ego, François, who's like a bad imitation of Sacha Baron Cohen in Talladega Nights. Then he meets a girl (Portia Doubleday), and the filmmakers try really hard to be hip and inventive but aren't. Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, and M. Emmet Walsh are among the indie casualties.