Review: Superbad (2007)

>> Sunday, December 9, 2007

USA/C-118m./Dir: Greg Mottola/Wr: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg/Cast: Jonah Hill (Seth), Michael Cera (Evan), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fogell), Bill Hader (Officer Slater), Seth Rogen (Officer Michaels)

Movies about horny teens obsessed with sex and alcohol are a dime a dozen. Good movies about horny teens obsessed with sex and alcohol are rare gems. Superbad is a gem. It’s also the funniest film to hit theater screens since Bad Santa (2003).

The film chronicles 24-hours in the lives of unpopular and codependent high-schoolers, Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera). The duo are nearing graduation and the disconcerting prospects of being separated (due to acceptance to different colleges) and failing to score before the end of their senior year. When Seth is invited to an end-of-the-year blowout, he sees it as an opportunity to hook-up with the girl of his dreams. His plan hinges on obtaining alcohol to impress the girl and to loosen her inhibitions. Evan goes along with the scheme and enlists the help of Fogell, an even more unpopular classmate who happens to have a fake I.D. (albeit a pretty unconvincing one). Over the course of the evening, the boys encounter numerous obstacles in their attempts to obtain joy juice, including multiple run-ins with a couple of inept cops (played by writer Seth Rogen and SNL vet Bill Hader).

The first fifteen minutes of Superbad features some of the coarsest language ever committed to film, and while it is extremely funny, more sensitive viewers may find it repellent. However, this movie is much more than a vulgar comedy. It has a tremendous heart, and by the time you reach the note-perfect ending, you’ll realize you’ve witnessed one of the sweetest and most truthful teen comedies ever made.

The script by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg is filled with laugh-out-loud dialog that perfectly captures the insecurities and urges of high school boys; and in the character of Seth, the screenwriters have crafted the role of a lifetime for Jonah Hill. Seth is uproariously funny and crass, and it is to Hill’s credit that the character also comes across as lovable and sympathetic. Michael Cera is equally excellent as Evan. Evan could have simply been played as Seth’s straight man, but Cera’s gawky line readings are wonderfully comic. Of course, Arrested Development fans know that no one plays awkward discomfort better than Michael Cera.

Superbad isn’t a perfect film. Some of the scenes with the cops are played too broadly in relation to the more realistic high school scenes. However, the film is so hilarious you’ll hardly mind any minor flaws. Pour yourself a green beer and enjoy.

Drinks Consumed--Beer (straight and mixed with detergent), tequila, whiskey, and vodka

Intoxicating Effects--Slurred speech, staggering, stumbling, vomiting, public disturbance, brawling, physical violence, drunk driving, passing out, memory blackouts, and soused sex

Potent Quotables--EVAN: I should buy Becca alcohol?
SETH: Yeah, it’ll be pimp. That way you know she’ll be drunk. You know when you hear a girl sayin’, “Ah, I was so shitfaced last night. I shouldn’t have fucked that guy.” We could be that mistake!

Video Availability--Superbad is available on DVD and Blu-ray (Columbia/Tri-Star) in both the theatrical and unrated versions. There is virtually no difference between the theatrical and unrated cut--a couple of added minutes of dirty dialog.

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Alcohol plays a major part in Katherine Heigl getting Knocked Up in Seth Rogen’s other 2007 comedy.

Superbad: The Drawings (Hardcover)


Chris B. December 12, 2007 at 3:27 PM  

I didn't love it. There were definitely some excellent chunks and lots of good, solid belly laughs, but as a whole it didn't keep my attention. I mean, I would recommend it as a rental, but I guess I just didn't fall head over heels for Jonah Hill like everyone else has.

Knocked Up killed me, though. I also liked 40-Year-Old Virgin much better than Superbad.

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