Superbad is the surprise of the summer, and I guess that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise seeing as though the savior of the R-rated comedy (Judd Apatow) and one of the industry’s rising young talents (Seth Rogen) are the brains of the operation. Superbad may be their raunchiest effort to date, but it continues to amaze that through all the F-bombs, vomit, and bad taste, their efforts always display a genuinely sincere side that really drives the whole thing home. As much as it may scare a lot of parents out there, anyone who has been through the rigors and craziness of contemporary high school will find something to identify with.
Taking place during one night – the last night of senior year – the story follows lifelong best friends Seth (Hill) and Evan (Cera) as they try to acquire booze for a final high school bash. The party is at Jules’ (Emma Stone) house, and since Seth has a major crush on her, he thinks he’ll likely get smashed and laid if he can pull it off. Along for the ride is Fogell (Mintz-Plasse), the dictionary-definition of a dork. He has crafted a fake ID using the name McLovin, and a sequence of events during his attempt to purchase the alcohol lands him in the hands of two incompetent police officers, Slater (Hader) and Michaels (Rogen).
Director Greg Mottola and his impressive cast (mostly unknowns at that) have executed what may be a new classic in the high school films canon. The pacing and dialogue move at a breakneck pace and the laughs literally never let up. Seemingly one-note comedies have been tried dozens of times before (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is the last one that was really accomplished well), but rarely this successfully. Writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have a keen sense of what it’s like to be a teenager these days, and the characters never feel anything but authentic. They also do an excellent job of developing the female characters, and it’s refreshing to see them treated as something other than slabs of meat for drooling males.
Jonah Hill and Michael Cera are both show stoppers, and they spend a lot of time on screen together. Hill has been an Apatow favorite for years and he is rapidly establishing himself as a Chris Farley of sorts for this generation. His delivery in Superbad is as aggressive as ever and perhaps a bit over-the-top, but, like Farley, he’ll give 110% if it means getting a laugh. Cera is the perfect foil; soft-spoken, clear-headed, and a dry wit. Lest we forget newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fogell (aka McLovin), who has already become a pop phenomenon – just from the trailer. We all knew a Fogell in high school, and Mintz-Plasse is a walking personification. Rogen and Hader are also hilarious as the two bumbling cops.
That it all comes together nicely in the end only adds to the fact that Rogen and Goldberg know the ins and outs of heartbreak. More so than anything, Superbad is about the possibility of losing your best friend during what is supposed to be one of the most exciting times of your life. The final scenes are heartfelt, appropriate, and even slightly moving. I’ll bet you didn’t see that one coming and I can guarantee that most filmgoers will have no idea, as they file in to their screening, just how great this movie is.
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Length: 114 Minutes
Rating: R for pervasive crude and sexual content, strong language, drinking, some drug use and a fantasy/comic violent image – all involving teens.
Theatrical Release: August 17, 2007
Directed by: Greg Mottola
Written by: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg.
Cast: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Emma Stone