By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist April 23, 2013 at 10:24AM
It's fitting that Michael Cera's cameo in the upcoming comedy “This Is The End” plays on the actor's trademarked screen persona, because the past few years have been a slow turn for him towards the daring, unique and offbeat. “Youth In Revolt” started it, Sebastian Silva's recent Sundance entries “Magic Magic” and “Crystal Fairy” continued it, and now his first directorial effort has landed on a similar path.
Developed for the new, star-studded YouTube channel JASH, “Brazzaville Teen-Ager” is a short film adaptation of Bruce Jay Friedman's 1966 story of the same name. Cera directs and stars as Gunther, a young man whose father (Charles Grodin) is slowly dying, and in an attempt to save him, he pleads for his cranky boss (Jack O'Connell) to sing back-up vocals for singer Kelis' latest single -- a tune that could just make the crucial difference.
The premise promises an absurdist tale straight away, and while Cera definitely displays moments of his regular deadpan humor, he also fashions a beautifully shot, strangely sweet short populated by a game cast (yes, even Kelis). A worthwhile effort from a more diverse side of Cera, check the full short film out below and tell us what you think.