Superbad Review


Because comedy is so subjective, I find it the most hit-and-miss of all the film genres. Too often I’ve sat down expecting a laugh riot and found a film completely devoid of humor. Perhaps that’s why I typically revisit one of my old standbys when I’m in the mood to laugh. And no film—maybe of any genre—has been revisited by me more than Greg Mottola’s Superbad, my choice for the funniest movie in history.

It might seem like a weak choice. I know few people who dislike the film, but I don’t know many either who thinks it’s the funniest ever like I do. But can’t recall ever laughing as hard as I did the first time I saw Jonah Hill’s Seth and Michael Cera’s Evan run around Southern California trying to score alcohol and get laid. There’s nothing sweet or tender about this film. It’s raunchy, crude, and off-the-wall from start to finish. But I’m not sure a single joke misses, and as “stupid” as some of the humor might be on the surface, it’s almost always clever and unexpected.

With two weeks left until graduation, Seth and Evan are desperate to lose their virginity. The portly Seth has his eye on Jules (Emma Stone), a sarcastic girl who appears to look past his weight at the funny guy underneath. Evan, a wide-eyed innocent, longs for Becca (Martha MacIsaac), a sweet girl from his math class. Jules is having a party and asks Seth if he might be able to secure some booze. His and Evan’s friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is getting a fake ID later that day, so they agree to it. But when Fogell shows up with the ID of a 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor named McLovin, their plan is shot, and they spend the rest of the night trying to atone for his screw-ups and impress the girls they want so badly.

What happens next is best left for those of you who still haven’t seen the film, but Seth, Evan, and Fogell stumble across some, um, interesting police officers (Seth Rogen and Bill Hader), a creepy MySpace stalker (Joe Lo Truglio), and a woman in desperate need of a tampon. There are a number of automobile accidents, some beer-filled detergent containers, a few guns, and yes, a popped cherry or two. To say the least, it’s a night these guys will never forget.

The film’s writing is nothing short of brilliant, especially when you consider that scribes Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen wrote it when they were 13 years old. The best comedy comes from out of left field (like little Seth’s very strange problem), but even the more familiar, broad jokes manage to land. We’ve seen inept cops in films before, but none quite like these. And even though getting hit by a car is a stale physical gag, each time it happens in Superbad, it cracks me up.

For the roles of Seth and Evan, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera could not be more perfect. Hill is loud, insanely crass, but he’s a guy a lot of other young guys would want as a friend. There are no sacred cows with Seth, and what you see is what you get. He’s a schlub of the first order, but he’s as entertaining as schlubs come. Cera, on the other hand, has totally worn out his Evan routine by 2011, but in 2007 it felt fresh and charming. Sure, he had done it for years earlier on Arrested Development, but by the time Superbad came along, I think he had perfected it. Watching this movie again makes me long for the time when I found Cera consistently funny. Now, we have to schlock through Youth in Revolt and Year One before we get a Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

The film carries the Judd Apatow seal of approval, and it’s not hard to see the influences of films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. But where those films sought a greater emotional connection, this one is satisfied just making you laugh until your stomach hurts. It’s as funny as anything, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I beg you: Stop what you are doing and watch it. Satisfaction guaranteed.

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