Superbad Actually Pretty Good
By Kristin Battestella
You have to be in the right mood for the gross out over sexed teen comedy genre. I wasn’t quite feeling our viewing of the 2007 comedy Superbad, but Greg Mottola’s (Arrested Development) little film about three teens looking for alcohol and sex was actually smart, witty, and hysterical all at the same time.
Now that their senior year is coming to an end Seth (Jonah Hill, Knocked Up) and Evan (Michael Cera, Juno) want to take things out with a bang- including sex! Beer! And more sex! Jules (Emma Stone, Drive) has invited Jonah to a graduation party and asked him to bring the alcohol, so Seth and Evan use their friend Fogell’s (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) fake ID to make the buy. Unfortunately, a Hawaiian ID that says “McLovin” screams fake. Will the boys score it all or will the night end in disaster?
It would be an injustice to give away all the twists and turns that make Superbad so good. Penned by Forty Year Old Virgin alumni Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, Superbad goes from one crutch to another, with each preposterous turn growing in hysteria as the film progresses. Strangely, Superbad has no nudity to speak of-and even the sex scenes are subdued when it finally gets to the sex. But of course, the foul language, sexual euphemisms, and naughty innuendoes definitely put Superbad on the not for kids list. Sure there’s been more perverted flicks-American Pie and the classic Porky’s- but Superbad is more for post teens remembering the high jinks of the good old days.
Superbad hails no recognizable cast members, yet they are all recent up and coming folks. This works for this type of film. Our teen trio knows they aren’t the jocks or the prom kings, but they don’t realize what losers they really are. Jonah Hill is perfect as the selfish Seth who could get the hottie if he used his wit, but instead falls into drunken absurdity. Likewise Michael Cera’s Evan is the smart nice guy who may be too nice, and Plasse as Fogell is of course the nerd who has the crazy side. Despite their ages, all look like contemporary teens struggling to make it up from the bottom of the barrel. I must also mention Bill Hader and co writer Seth Rogen as the cops on the boys’ trail. Their incompetence and humor is both ridiculous and realistic if that’s possible.
The stunts, parties, and car chases in Superbad look on form as well, but the surprises in the film come from its intelligent and honest script. What will Seth and Evan do once college comes along to split them up? Can they survive life without each other? Read homoerotic subtext if you like, but gay topics don’t come into play in Superbad. It’s not easy for two guys to admit they are a significant part of each other’s lives. The awkwardness, the camaraderie, and the anxiety of taking that next big step are all handled superbly by Mottola, the witty writing team, and the budding cast. It’s not easy to find a teen comedy that can pull off the serious stuff. It can come off as hokey, corny, or misplaced, but Superbad finds the perfect balance between sex romp and coming of age.
Superbad is, of course, not for everyone. Prudes, kids, or any other folks who are not used to the f bomb every other word should skip this one. The unrated version with more of all that is the way to go! The DVD has all the standards, and the subtitles are essential to catch all the jokes and wit. Two hours of honest, funny, teen hysteria should make Superbad your next movie purchase.