Sunday, August 19, 2007


Movie name: Superbad
Year of release: 2007
Director: Greg Mottola
Stars: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, Emma Stone, Martha MacIsaac, Kevin Corrigan
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

After the success of “40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” Judd Apatow is officially the king of the R-rated comedies in the US. Recuperating some of the raunchy themes of the comedies of the 80’s, these comedies, where “Superbad” is the latest and one of the funniest additions, have brought forth a refreshing look at themes that have been filmed and seen countless times.

Raunchy comedies are back. For those who thought that “Porky’s” had had it’s days of glory in the early 80’s, we are now watching a return to those themes, something that “American Pie” already brought to the screens in the late 90’s, and that Judd Apatow and his team are now ruling. The teenager films, particularly the ones where the shy, introverted kids (aka, the nerds) are bullied and end up having incredible adventures, all the while in the pursuit of losing their virginity, was a staple of the 80’s. They ended up being incorporated in John Hughes films, from “Sixteen Candles” to “Weird Science”, but also “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Amy Heckerling’s “Fast Times at Redgmont High” was also a stepping-stone as was Michael Lehman’s “Heathers”. However the more sexed up teenager films ended up being the raunchy ones like “Porky’s”, where a group of high school friends were always involved in adventures that basically had the goal of getting them in a sexual situation (invariably losing their virginity before the landmark step that was going to College).
“Superbad” comes in the heels of the highly successful “Knocked Up” that Judd Apatow (who was responsible for the TV Show “Freaks and Geeks”, “40 Year Old Virgin” and who also produced “The Cable Guy” with Jim Carrey) wrote and directed and that brought into the limelight Seth Rogen. Rogen up into this point had been mostly known for his bit roles in “Freeks and Geeks, “Donnie Darko” and “40 Year Old Virgin”, but with the success of “Knocked Up” and now “Superbad”, his career is on a crescendo.
The film introduces us to the characters of Seth and Evan. Both have been best friends since little kids and are now seniors in high school, getting ready to go to college. Seth is the overweight loudmouth, where Evan is quiet and sweet. Both are of course pariahs and treated as such by the high school bullies. All they can think of is having sex before the end of high school and going away to college (something that will happen within a week) – that is also something that they know will separate them, since each will be going to different schools. The even more socially awkward Fogell, who is accompanying Evan to the same college, usually joins them. The film follows the adventures of Seth, Evan and Fogel in a single day, one where they manage to get invited to a party by a girl that Seth is desperately trying to get “intimate” with. Fogel manages to acquire a fake ID under the name McLovin, a 25-year-old organ donor from Hawaii. What follows are three kids adventures through the night, in the pursuit of booze, love and shedding the fear of being away of their friends (very much a rite of passage).
With a great script from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (that they wrote when teenagers), the film manages to be incredibly funny, mostly because it bases its’ concepts on the dynamics of the three kids and the two incredible and lunatic cops that patrol the streets. Seth presented as the loudmouth ends up being the soul of the movie, mostly because underneath his raunchiness lies a sweet kid that is incredibly afraid of losing his friend and being alone. The scene where Seth is seen as a child drawing penises is pure anthology. Evan, the more intelligent and quiet kid has a heart and a mind of it’s own – his goal is to actually be closer to Rebecca, his main interest in the classrooms. Fogler in the meanwhile, only wants to belong and be cool, something that his fake ID and his journey in the night with his buddy cops helps tremendously!
Where “Porky’s” went directly to the “sexual jugular”, “Superbad” has a heart and intelligence that resonates through those characters. Even in the hilarious scenes with Seth dancing in the party with the lady that has an “accident” on him, you can’t help laugh at the way Seth just handles the situation. The film is populated with so many funny moments that is hard to highlight a particular one.
All the actors do a great job, from Jonah Hill (also seen in “Knocked Up”) as Seth, to the more recognizable Michael Cera (from the TV show “Arrested Development”) as Evan, to the revelation that is Christopher Mintz-Plasse – his Fogel/McLovin will be an anthology character (particularly considering this is his first film and that he is a high school student). Seth Rogen and Bill Hader both do great work as the incredibly incompetent cops, both of who take McLovin on the ride of his life.
This is a comedy that works beyond its’ naughty pretense and raunchy themes – it goes for the heart!