REVIEW: Superbad [2007]

“Yeah, I learned about that in health class”

The title says it all. This movie is superbad…ass. You know, in as far as movie standards go, Superbad is not a masterpiece, or even something to speak about with more than a chuckle. With that said, though, I had a great time with this flick. It is tough to be a hard-R without any nudity for a film of its kind these days. The shear abundance of cursing and innuendo make you feel dirty enough. How writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg came up with some of the situations shown, or the ridiculousness of what these characters say, is beyond me, but the genuine way in which it is all delivered is true to the spirit of that time on the cusp between high school and college. These kids are the dorks always being pushed to the background and they have one opportunity to turn that all around. The journey they take to finally get there, though, is a ride you won’t believe.

A lot is being said about this being a Judd Apatow film. A few of his regulars are on hand, Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Martin Starr; it has a more intellectual way of getting the laughs that usually come off as being funny with no transition to the story in lesser fare; and above all else, it is a story from the heart about the bond of friendship. The movie is not, however, directed by Apatow; instead, the man is Greg Mottola. Now I am not slighting him in the faintest here, but I don’t think it would have mattered who directed it. There aren’t any huge set pieces or inventive camera tricks. As far as these types of films go, it is the writing that supercedes all. The thing about 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up is not that they were directed by Apatow, but that they were written by him. When it comes to Superbad, the script is just too funny to be able to be harmed by the man behind the camera. As long as he keeps the film rolling on these actors, the writing will carry it to the promise land. I give all the credit to Rogen and Goldberg for that, and hope their second feature, Pineapple Express, will be as good—I mean these two started writing both films in high school…that’s impressive.

If anything needs mentioning besides the screenplay, it is the wonderful acting. All the awkwardness of high school and sex come across with truth and candor. Michael Cera’s delivery is just insane. His looks of innocence and ability to let the words come out as if they are of the moment and genuine reactions sell it every time. The chemistry with his character’s best friend, played by Hill, comes across well and the two have a witty rapport. All the scenes you saw in the trailer were alternate versions, the real footage is much funnier and much dirtier; these two definitely enjoy playing off one another. Through the reality of all the anxiety of going to the one graduation party they have been invited to and the responsibility bestowed upon them to bring the alcohol, we are given some situations along the way that are more or less unreal. From the leg used as a tampon scene; the getting hit by a car, not once, but twice; the singing of These Eyes with a bunch of cokeheads; the nice cameos from David Krumholtz and Kevin Corrigan at a messed up party; or anything that happens with the town’s wonderful law enforcement, the laughs never stop. Unfortunately, it does feel long and drawn out overall, I can’t remember a lull in the story, but the pacing just dragged a bit. By having it fire on all cylinders yet still feel a bit sluggish, I must put blame on the inexperienced Mottola. Maybe pointing the camera isn’t all that needs to be done to make a great script pop.

What stands out above all else, though, is the debut of Christopher Mintz-Plasse. The kid is total geek—from nerdy glasses, boyish haircut, ghetto speak, and nasal voice, McLovin is total cool. He handles the role splendidly as he is trucked around town by the best cops ever, played by Rogen and Bill Hader. These three are priceless throughout their travels, right down to the wonderful finale of their story arc. Mintz-Plasse shows how even the dork can make it happen with a little confidence and a couple beers down the hatch. Hey, he did out Breathalyzer Rogen in the squad car. There was no stopping the laughs when these guys were in front of the camera, but then there were few breaks otherwise as well. While not as intelligent or lasting as Virgin, it was a better and raunchier time then the overly sappy and romantic Knocked Up. This film is not for your teenage kids, though, it is for you people in your twenties and thirties looking to remember back in the day when you were as awkward and helpless as these sad souls. All you can do is hope that when you look back at your past, you took the plunge and made a name for yourself as these kids did.

Superbad 8/10 | ★ ★ ★

photography:
[1] Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, center) – posing as McLovin, the 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor – is taken for the adventure of his young life so far by two clueless cops, Officer Michaels (Seth Rogen, left) and Officer Slater (Bill Hader, right), in Superbad, the new film from producers Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), screenwriters Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, and director Greg Mottola. Photo Credit: Melissa Moseley.
[2] Seth (Jonah Hill, center left) and Evan (Michael Cera, right) can have the night they’ll remember for the rest of their lives in Superbad, the new film from producers Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), screenwriters Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, and director Greg Mottola. Photo Credit: Melissa Moseley.

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Comments
One Response to “REVIEW: Superbad [2007]”
  1. Andrea says:

    I would definitely agree with your movie rating (8/10). Every time I watch this movie, the laughs keep on coming. The whole cop image is completely torn to pieces, but in a clever way. I totally agree with your comments about the chemistry between the characters. Of course there had to be the ideal dream girl but what would a movie be without that girl? I think that the movie did somewhat drag but I wasn’t ready to turn it off at any point. I think it is cool that we both agree on a movie critique for once:)

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