How’s it shakin’, eggs and bacon? See what I just did there: I used something juvenile and outdated as a greeting. Ha, ha, ha! But seriously, Michael, I’m worried about you. It’s not just that you put both the Unicorns and Islands in a list of your top five favorite albums. It’s more that your character—the cute indie dork with the quirks who gets the girl he needs but maybe not the one he wants—is wearing thin. You’re inches away from being Zach Braff, Jr. You do not want to be Zach Braff, Jr.
Michael, have you ever seen Sixteen Candles? How about The Breakfast Club? Because if Molly Ringwald was a man and she was 20 right now instead of in the ’80s and her name was Michael Cera, she’d be you. Only she danced to better music (Oingo Boingo vs. Vampire Weekend, come on), and—how to put this delicately?—her characters had a soul. Your vacant stares and “um, okay, what’s happening now?” nervous tics can only go so far. Your pretty face is going to hell (copyright Iggy Pop). In that movie about the gong show host who was in the CIA, you had a brief scene toward the beginning in which you tried to convince a girl that your penis tasted like strawberries. Where is that Michael Cera now? Oh boo-hoo, your girlfriend and probably BFF broke up with you on your “b-day.” Now you have no choice but to run around New York with reckless abandon while some similarly fresh-faced young fellows sing bland songs to match your bland personality in a bland movie. I think you know what you need to do here. Shut up with the I’m-so-sensitive routine, and start focusing on the potential rainbow of flavors that are left to be assigned to your man-parts.
Instead of saying “Hey, I’m sorry that moving in with Fogel is making you so unhappy,” you could have said, “Oh, you’re upset? Well my penis tastes like watermelon.” Instead of awkward sex in a chair with Ellen Page, you could have just said, “My penis tastes like chocolate-vanilla swirl covered in rainbow sprinkles with a marachino cherry, one of the ones that’s been sitting at the bottom of the jar, you know the kind Dave, and also the sprinkles have been chopped into the ice cream in that weird way that they do it at some places and then all mixed together on a chilled stone slab.” Before you know it you can start a blog called the Vagina Farm and sell scripts of your own!
So, Michael, I’ll say this in mainstream indiespeak so that you can understand it clearly. You need to stop being Colin Meloy and start being Stephen Malkmus (sidenote: is “Carrot Rope” really about his thing? Discuss). You need an edge to your characters. Your band in Nick and Norah is called the Jerk-Offs, which must be the ultimate irony, since all signs point to your character this time around as yet another innocent soul with a tapwater personality and zero social skills who somehow makes everyone believe in magic or some shit. As you’re mulling over your next script, in which you play a sensitive and reserved mashup DJ who just got dumped by Uffie and is now pursuing some other modern equivalent of the pretty popular girl but not the bitch character the one who cares about all mankind, stop and think for a moment. Maybe a discussion about the taste properties of the male anatomy is the saving grace here. You can call the movie $$$FLVR$$$.
Adam Benjamin (Zapsta)