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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SUPERBAD (2007) - Greg Mottola

2007 seems to be Year of the Rogen. Having already scored a huge hit with Knocked Up, actor Seth Rogen turns his hand to writing for his second smash hit of the year, Superbad. Superbad is similar to Knocked Up in that it’s a comedy that aims squarely for the gross out humour market, however, where as Knocked Up was about thirty-somethings, Superbad is made specifically for the teen audience. It takes up the mantle where the American Pie franchise left off, and continues the tradition with gusto.

Two slacker friends, Seth and Evan have come to a crossroads in their lives. They are approaching the end of their school years and must face the prospect of leaving each other to go to separate colleges. It’s a situation neither of them have really come to terms with yet, but as with all young males, they hide their fears behind a mask of bravado. However, they have more immediate problems. Neither of them wants to go to college as virgins. But all is not lost. Their mutual friend, uber-nerd, Fogell, has acquired a fake ID. This ID, and the alcohol it can help them obtain, is the key to gaining access to a party. A party where there are girls. To the boys, alcohol and girls result in the high possibility of getting laid. And so the boys embark on their odyssey to obtain $100 worth of booze and hit the party, for sexy results!

Okay, there’s one thing that is essential when approaching this film. There is absolutely no point in going into it with any ounce of pretention. And if you’re easily offended, stay away. Superbad aims low, and hits the mark pretty much every time. Where as Knocked Up had it’s morals, as well as it’s gross out humour, Superbad is mostly just gross out humour. And profanities. Endless profanities! That’s not to say that the film doesn’t have any redeeming qualities (in terms of morals). It does make the point that alcohol isn’t necessarily the ideal way to win a girl’s heart... or pants. But this isn’t a message movie. It’s a comedy, and in this respect, it’s very successful.

There’s no denying that the three lead characters of Evan, Seth and Fogell (played by Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse respectively) are instantly likable. Each is quite different but all of them are very believable. Which isn’t surprising since Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg based the characters and situations on themselves. Casting is essential and there’s no complaints there. Cera is essentially reprising his role of George Michael Bluth from TV’s Arrested Development. He’s incredibly comfortable in the role (ironically, of the overly-nervous teen) and suits the character fine. Jonah Hill is great as Seth. It would be easy to see the actor as a John Belushi for the 21st Century. And newcomer Mintz-Plasse is brilliant as Fogell. He spends most of the film sharing the screen with writer Rogen and Bill Hader as two cops as irresponsible and immature as the teenagers.

I’ve read some reviews of this film that were very stuffy and mean-spirited. They accused Superbad of being incredibly misogynistic. But those reviewers can pull their heads out of their asses. While the boys are obsessed with getting laid, and spend the entirety of the movie trying to achieve this goal, I think that pretty much is exactly what most teenage boys are aiming to do. But there’s no point in getting bogged down in the politics of a movie like this. It’s a comedy, and at the end of the day, it’s about laughs. And there are plenty. Is it better than Knocked Up? I don’t know. The jury’s still out on that one. But at the end of the day, it’s hilarious, and definitely one to check out.


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