Thursday, August 23, 2007


The best thing about watching Superbad was not the endless vagina jokes, Jonah Hill’s gut, hearing George Michael Bluth swear, or the eerily familiar scenes recreated from TEEN EL TREMENDO’s childhood. The best thing about watching this pisser of a comedy was counting the number of shocked sighs from uptight, uninformed parents in the audience who thought they were bringing their brats to another Napoleon Dynamite. It must be sweet music to the ears of the filmmakers, which includes my new favorite comedy director Judd Apatow (40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up).

High school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) commit themselves to get booze, get laid, and get un-nerdified before they go their separate ways to college. The pair engages in a series of conversations that makes German porn sound like Strawberry Shortcake. If there's some disgusting way to describe a sex act, they do it. God love these kooky kids.

Seth and Evan set their sights on uncomfortably hot teen babes Jules (Emma Stone) and Becca (Martha MacIsaac). But first, they have to supply the hooch for Jules' teen bash and must rely on uber-geek Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and his laughably bad fake ID. And there's your plot. Hilarity ensues, and it ensues well, and if this film contributes anything to American popular culture, it's that every office lunchroom, every Xbox Live arena, and every convent will soon have it's own 'McLovin'.

While the geeky main characters engage in their alcohol and poon quest, the subplot finds Fogell trotting around town in the back of a police car with slackers-turned-legit Officer Slater (Bill Hader) and Officer Michaels (Seth Rogen). These sequences almost steal the show.

Superbad is really effing funny, and so much so that I even found myself thinking “I can’t believe he just said that”. That would be a first for me. Given that, the film slows down a bit in the middle, and given its nearly 2-hour running time, it’s noticeable. Also, Seth’s selfish obsession with getting to the party gets more irritating and obnoxious with each passing second that it nearly obliterates any identification or sympathy with him. However, director Greg Mottola nicely gets a good rhythm going as he bounces back between the main story and Fogell’s adventure, despite Seth’s screeching.

But as par for the course in Apatow’s recent work, the end result is bringing sensitive side to the sex talk, scatology, and geek angst. The film, much like 40-Year Old Virgin, covers territory that hits much too close to home for geeky guys like yours truly. Like me at that age, Seth and Evan were scared to death of women and feel laughable around them, no matter how hard they try to pimp it up. What lies beneath the insecurity, and perhaps fuels it, is an unspoken platonic love for each other. I know, gay. But in the end, they discover that the desperation to lose their virginity and the urgency to get hammered camouflages their deep feelings of friendship and fear of separation, subjects too bewildering to admit or confront.

The filmmakers re-energize the teen comedy with a careful balance of raunch and schmaltz, so much so that it’s hard to call Superbad anything but Supergood.

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