Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Superbad (2007)

When I first saw the previews for Superbad (2007) I thought it looked...well...super stupid. Then again...I am hardly the prime audience target for a movie centered on high school seniors trying to get laid. But the commercials grew on me so off we went to view the teen flick.

And teen flick is where it is at. I am not sure how old writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are. From Knocked Up (2007) I would guess early 20s...but Rogen still has a pretty firm grip on the late teen years.

The plot is fairly simple; Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are just a few weeks from graduation and want to ready themselves for college life by getting laid. Each has a girl he is infatuated with who he thinks is out of his league so the best way to get with them is to get them drunk. Of course, there are a few obstacles betweeen Seth getting with Jules (Emma Stone) and Evan getting with Becca (Martha MacIsaac)...such as Seth and Evan being told not to attend any parties by the school tough boy slacker bully so they are never in the same place, the total social ineptitude of Seth and Evan, and the vast disparity in "hotness" between our intrepid heroes and their dream girls.

They come to the conclusion their best bet to get with Jules and Becca is to get them drunk and take advantage of them. Fortuitously, super-nerd Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has just obtained a fake idea using the single name McLovin. Fogell and Evan have a vague friendship that runs counter to acid-tongued Seth's sensibilities. Seth takes every possible opportunity to run down Fogell....and, often enough, even his "best friend" Seth.

Seth seems bitter and angry. He is at once a complete failure...he is academically incompetent, as athletic as a tree stump, and has the personality of a bear-baiter...and completely full of himself, thinking he has the right recipe to get laid with any girl he wants if people will just do things his way. It is actually a pretty good representation of a lot of high school kids who can't figure anything out yet are brimming with confidence.

Meanwhile Evan and Fogell lay low, achieve good grades and are easily able to attain their scholastic dreams (admission to Dartmouth). It makes sense for Seth to be bitter and angry. He never develops camaraderie with classmates like Evan does in Home Ec but instead spends his time mocking the class. There is a lesson here somewhere but it would sound far too preachy to mention it.

The movie really hits its stride when Fogell, to be known as McLovin for the rest of the movie (and review) goes into a liquor store to stock up for the party. A robber appears, lays out McLovin and steals the cash register. This brings in the bumbling cops Officer Slater (Bill Hader) and Officer Michaels (Seth Rogen). For the rest of the movie they take McLovin on a variety of misadventures trying to show him cops can be cool too while Seth and Evan try to find alcohol without any money or ID...both of which were held by McLovin.

Near the end of the scene the three friends reunite, have the alcohol, and make it to the party. Once there they figure out their perceptions were wrong.

Seth discovers Jules is interested in him, just not when he is drunk...and she herself does not drink. Thus his own unwillingness to even talk to her in the past prevented him from having many opportunities to hang out with her. Meanwhile, Evan discovers Becca has liked him for a long time and likes him whether she is drunk or sober. McLovin also finds success, apparently predicated on his ability to tell time.

In a nice final scene at the mall the different paths their lives will now take are represented as Seth and Jules take the escalator down while Evan and Becca remain on the upper level, heading in the other direction. They now have other interests in their lives and things are better.

The movie had a lot of laughs in it. An unfortunately large number of them are based on profanity or prurient sex jokes...those revolving the research and selections of summer porn site purchases come to mind. Indeed, this was one of the most profanity-laced movies I have ever seen and it did not need to be that way. The movie was good enough to stand on its own merits and the constant obscenities spewing from every mouth were more annoying than hilarious or entertaining.

In the end it was a diverting 114 minutes of my life, but not one I feel compelled to see again.

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