Andy Bockelman: ‘Superbad’ is super good for the right audience
September 11, 2007
Craig — The mindset of the average red-blooded American male teen is perfectly conveyed in the riotous comedy “Superbad” with the help of an exceptional soundtrack, two detergent containers filled with beer and a fake ID sporting the moniker “McLovin.”
Seth and Evan (Jonah Hill and Michael Cera) are two best friends whose high school experience has been less than phenomenal. Only two weeks away from graduating, their main concern is to finally get invited to a great party, and consequently lose their virginity before going to college. Seth manages to get his foot in the door with his infatuation, Jules (Emma Stone), by promising to provide her with an array of liquor for her impromptu bash. Evan does the same with his love interest, Becca (Martha MacIsaac), and the two boys expect everything else to fall into place. Their plan promptly goes awry when their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) attempts to buy alcohol for them, leading to a catastrophic night that changes all three of their lives drastically.
The two leads are well-teamed as mismatched pals Seth and Evan; Hill as unbelievably vulgar, but surprisingly sensitive Seth and Cera as quiet, good-natured Evan, who is not much different from Cera’s awkward character from the ill-fated sitcom “Arrested Development.” Making a fantastic debut is Mintz-Plasse as Fogell, aka “McLovin,” who gets a taste of the wild life courtesy of a pair of free-wheeling cops played by Bill Hader and Seth Rogen who are both hilarious.
Probably best described as a combination of “American Pie” and “American Graffiti” with a dash of “Porky’s” thrown into the mix, “Superbad” is quite genuine when compared to most of the weak teen comedies that get released.
The common theme of nearly all of these is the use of characters who are obsessed with doing the dirty deed but (with the exception of the aforementioned and a handful of others) there is rarely much of a story within, and the actors never seem like they would ever have romantic troubles.
Add that to clothing, music and surroundings that look like they came straight out of “The O.C.” and you have a guaranteed piece of contrived trash. This is not a problem in “Superbad” with the heroes dressing as if they had no awareness of the current fashions.
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This is strengthened by a retro ’70s opening sequence which further shows just how displaced Seth and Evan are in the high school environment. The use of vintage music by Van Halen, Foreigner and Motrhead certainly helps as well. What truly bumps the movie up a notch is the fact that it faithfully deals with the realistic anxieties of teenagers, however trivial. It takes a while to get to these more sincere moments, but it pays off in the end.
The movie is certainly not for all audiences. Really this is an understatement, as it features an encyclopedia of nasty terms, two of the most irresponsible policemen in film history and an animated montage at the end that defies description. Still, for anyone who is game, “Superbad” is super good.