Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Archive: "Superbad" (2007)

Thank goodness for guys like Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and now director Greg Mottola. I don't know what the world of comedy would do without them as they keep dishing out one hilarious movie after another. Thanks to them, we have truly great comedies such as "Superbad," a raunchy riot of a teen sex comedy for the new generation. The movie's opening has the look and sound of something from the 70s, but as the movie begins, you immediately realize that it takes place in the present. The naughty one-liners are so quick and current that you may find yourself doubling back to something said and realize just how damn clever it was. This, along with the flawless formula of realistic dialogue and genuine characters makes "Superbad" another winner from a comedic tag team who's impossible to beat right now.

Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have been best friends through all of high school primarily because they aren't cool enough for anybody else, but they are a perfect match for each other because they are equally uncool. Seth is loud-mouthed and chubby, and Evan is thin and unbelievably awkward. They also have a buddy named Fogell who is so uncool that he's a nerd even to them. Their senior year is only weeks away from being over, and they realize that it's either now or never to get laid. Evan tells Seth that everybody just has sex in college, but Seth reasons that they must have experience before then. The way he explains it, though, is about a hundred times more amusing. However preoccupied they are with this goal, the real problem facing them is that they each got into a different college and the resulting separation anxiety that comes along.

The movie follows the misadventures of these three friends throughout a 24-hour period. Everything that could go wrong pretty much does, and it all happens in the most ridiculous and unpredictable ways possible. One day at school, Seth is unexpectedly invited to a party by a girl he's had his eye on, and Evan decides he'll go, too, to impress the girl he likes. Fogell just got a fake ID as a 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor simply named "McLovin." (This one thing is what the movie will forever be known for as it is already being quoted, and T-shirts with the phrase "I am McLovin" on them are probably already in production.) Thanks to Fogell's new ID, Seth is given the job of providing all the drinks for the party. From one trip to a liquor store, things start getting progressively more bizarre and outrageous. I admire the movie's ability to completely disregard an actual plot and yet still move along with one gut-busting one-liner right after another. Every incident collides with the other in a long string of non-stop laughs and giddiness.

The movie is also shockingly crude and foul-mouthed. But, why wouldn't it be? I mean, just look at the age bracket here. These horny teens aren't going to be talking about sex with any tasteful sophistication, that's for sure. Jonah Hill, who co-starred next to Seth Rogen in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," and Michael Cera, who is in "Arrested Development," are excellently casted and have conversations that feel exactly how they should. Every other word is a swear word or an insult, and mentions of nipples, pussies, and erections are abound. The movie's crude behavior comes with a hint of truth in being so frank about young male obsessions. Seth and Evan aren't looking for a relationship; they hear about girls getting drunk and sleeping with the wrong guy, and they want to be that guy.

Then there are the two cops, played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader, who take Fogell under their wing as their best buddy after the incident at the liquor store. The two of them are no more mature than the high schoolers that fill the rest of the screen. Strangely enough, though, it's actually these scenes which drag in the movie; that's surprising to be coming from a character played by Seth Rogen. It's really the teen party scene that rules the show where even the two girls of interest, played by Emma Stone and Martha MacIsaac, are fun and quirky on their own. All of the younger characters have honest emotion and we laugh at them, with them, and ultimately care about them.

The movie is probably inspired by the lives of Seth Rogen and his co-writer Evan Goldberg, as they both named the main characters after themselves. Not only that, it could also very well be based on the life of any teenager you come across. Like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up," which preceded this comedic gem from Mottola, there's a certain realism and sincerity to be found here. This one is the most absurd of the bunch with the situations the characters find themselves in, but the reactions are still as real as ever. The movie has the same likability thanks to a smart script and good actors. It's a dirty, R-rated teen comedy with a heart, and when it comes down to it, it's about looking to the future, moving on, and growing up. "Superbad" is super good.

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