Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen
Director: Greg Mottola
Writer/director Judd Apatow knows a thing or two about making funny movies. Over the past three years, he’s given us “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” so it’s not at all surprising to discover his name attached to “Superbad.” Granted, Apatow is only credited as a producer on this one, but his involvement definitely shines through. Created in the vein of ‘80s teenage sex comedies, “Superbad” not only delivers the raunchy humor you’d expect from a movie about a quest for beer, but it does so quite intelligently. The end result is something along the lines of “American Pie” meets “Dazed & Confused,” and if the Apatow seal of approval isn’t enough to convince you of its merits, consider this: “Superbad” just might be one of the best teenage sex comedies ever made.
Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are best friends who just want to get laid before they go off to college. Though understandably geeky in their respective ways, it’s nothing when compared to the third wheel of the group, Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), an über-dork who somehow manages to land a fake ID on the same day they’re invited to a party by one of the coolest girls in the school. In the hopes of impressing her with the promise of alcohol, Seth is entrusted with purchasing all the booze for the party. But when the liquor store is robbed and the cops show up – leading Seth and Evan believe that Fogell has been busted – the pair embarks on a cross-town adventure to procure some beer and make it to the party.
Supposedly co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg when they were only 13-years-old, it’s no coincidence that the two main characters share the same first names with the writers. The script is essentially an autobiographical tale of their adolescence, and if even half of the stories that show up in “Superbad” are true, well, then, it makes perfect sense as to why Rogen grew up to be such a funny dude.
“Superbad” is frigging hilarious, and a lot of that can be contributed to the film’s two stars. Jonah Hill is unrelenting as the more aggressive of the two – ultimately getting more screen time if only because his character demands it – while Michael Cera channels a little of the straight-and-narrow George Michael (his character from “Arrested Development,” not the singer) into his role as Seth’s safety-first best friend. Cera is the master of awkward comedy, and so when his character his forced to sing to a bunch of coke addicts while trapped at a party, he sells his shaky performance of “These Eyes” with such conviction that it’s impossible not to laugh and feel bad for the guy at the same time.
The surprise of the film isn’t in the wonderfully scripted banter between the two friends, however, but rather a relative unknown named Christopher Mintz-Plasse. In his very first acting role, Mintz-Plasse nearly steals the show with his performance as Fogell, the geeky teenager who slowly begins to take on the qualities of his fake ID persona (the 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor, McLovin) throughout the course of the night. After nearly getting busted by the cops (played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader), McLovin joins the pair as they attempt to prove that police officers can have fun too. Here’s hoping that Mintz-Plasse can carve a career for himself in the business, because if not, he’ll likely become just another Chris Owen, who, despite appearing in over 20 films, will forever be remembered as The Sherminator from the “American Pie” series.
To call “Superbad” a sex comedy with taste would be stretching it. Sure, the movie has a certain air of intelligence that other films in the genre only wish they had, but there’s still the occasional dick joke that helps keep the movie grounded in its roots. There’s even a particular gag involving menstrual blood that takes the cake as one of the most disgusting jokes ever recorded on film, so those expecting raunchy won’t be disappointed. Of course, when you’ve got guys like Rogen and Apatow collaborating on a film of this subject matter, you can rest assured they’re going to knock it out of the park; and they do.
Two-Disc Extended Edition DVD Review:
For those that just couldn’t get enough of the adventures of Seth, Evan and McLovin, the two-disc release of “Superbad” is jam-packed with hours of extras including an unrated extended cut, commentary with the cast/crew and more. Unfortunately, most of the included bonus material isn’t as strong as the film itself, and though the aforementioned commentary is both lively and informative, the extras that follow are a mixed bag. The included deleted/extended scenes, Line-O-Rama and gag reel are all worthy additions, but everything else feels tacked on.
“Cop Car Confessions” can be easily be skipped (save for Justin Long’s spot-on impersonation of Matthew McConaughey), while “Everyone Hates Michael Cera” and “Press Junket Meltdown” never quite match the uncomfortable comedy of the on-set gags found on “Knocked Up.” Table reads from 2002 (with Seth Rogen and Jason Segel in the lead roles) and 2006 help to show just how bad the movie could have been, while the “On Set Diaries” serve as a better making-of than the actual “Making of Superbad” featurette. A short look at the filming of the title sequence, audition tapes for the film’s three leads, and a “Music of Superbad” featurette round out the set, while the exclusive first look at “Pineapple Express” (the next comedy from Apatow Productions) is a bit of a letdown.