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Superbad: Another Hilarious Success for Apatow & Co.

Superbad: Another Hilarious Success for Apatow & Co.

I really enjoyed Superbad, and if you like raunchy, funny high school romps, you'll probably enjoy it, too. Chances are, however, your boyfriend and/or guy friends will love this movie. In fact, as we were leaving the screening and I wondered aloud what I would write about it, my boyfriend responded, "Um, maybe that it's the most perfect comedy ever made?!"


I wouldn't go quite that far — but almost. No doubt this movie, produced by Judd Apatow and written by Seth Rogen, will be compared endlessly to this summer's other Apatow success, Knocked Up. I predict many reviews to call this a kind of prequel to Knocked Up, taking place as it does in high school and focusing this time largely (rather than secondarily) on male friendship. Personally, though, I liked Knocked Up more than Superbad, specifically because it wasn't so exclusively a tale of dude bonding. But as far as these kinds of movies go, this is probably the best one I've ever seen. To find out why, read more

The screenplay was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (hence the two main characters' names: Seth and Evan) starting when they were 13 years old, so it feels refreshingly true-to-life — with some fantastical elements thrown in, of course. Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are high school seniors who are best-best friends. Most of the laughs stem from their odd couple combination: Seth is anxious and loud while Evan is thoughtful and calm. Neither one of them is cool, nor have they had much luck with the ladies. They're also buddies with another awkward guy, the skinny Fogell (Chris Mintz-Plasse) who, as you know from the previews, gets a fake ID that says his name is simply "McLovin." As their time at high school is drawing to a close, the boys look at their futures: Evan and Fogell both got into the same college — but Seth did not.


The action in the movie takes place entirely over one night as the boys embark on a quest to a) get alcohol, b) attend a party thrown by Seth's crush Jules (Emma Stone), and c) get laid (Evan has his sights set on the sweet and slightly geeky Becca (Martha MacIsaac)). In their journeys, however, things don't go exactly as planned. Fogell spends the evening in the company of two cops (played hilariously by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader), while Seth and Evan find themselves at a rowdy adult party.

The movie isn't drastically different in tone from other teen sex comedies (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge of the Nerds, etc.), but the humor and story are updated for a modern crowd. There's more sarcasm and irony, and as Michael Cera himself pointed out when I interviewed him, it's a more naturalistic take on high school than we usually get (the hierarchy not quite so severely defined, the female characters not entirely one-dimensional). Also, there's more blatantly disgusting humor at times — one joke actually had me poking my boyfriend and whispering, "That did not just happen!" Other moments have the silly, bawdy essence of American Pie (Evan and Becca's erotic misadventures, for example).


Yet the two main characters and their relationship anchor all the crazy antics with more truthfulness than can be found in Pie, and this makes it much more hilarious. None of the main dudes is a classically attractive guy, nor are they smooth or dashing at all — and that's part of the charm of Superbad. Ultimately, this is a story of lovable dorky high school friends who will be buddies through it all — no matter what.


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