Review in a Hurry: Who knew that a raunchy teen sex comedy could be one of the most rambunctious and glorious movies of the year?
The Bigger Picture: After seeing Superbad, its clear that Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow’s unique formula of virile humor, authentic characters, emotional realism and incessant dick jokes has revitalized American movie comedies. Superbad is filled with uproarious one-liners, good natured tenderness and a scrappy crew of characters: a fat kid, a geeky kid and a scrawny, twitchy mess of a kid who goes by the name McLovin. These dorks navigate the treacherous high school sex scene with easy charm and explosive humor. Ultimately, though, the movie is less about young boys’ perpetual pursuit of tail and more about the rewards of intimacy and close friendships.
It’s graduation time, and our supergeeky outsiders find themselves in a mad rush to complete classes and finish their lonely tenure as virgins. Suddenly, the gods smile upon them when one of their school’s resident hotties invites them to a graduation party, with the caveat that they use their fake ID to buy the booze. Armed with the ID of a 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor, bus passes and a tenacious will, the lads’ quest for booze and babes quickly careens out of control.
Their misadventures lead them to various seedy spots. And when the tension and danger begin to escalate, a painful subject rears its head: The codependent boys who have been friends since birth will soon be attending separate colleges. In the moments where the boys grapple with their impending separation, the witty smarts of writers Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg truly radiate. They acutely and respectfully capture the pulsating sense of urgency and anxiety that is unique to adolescents at a crossroads.
There are a few small flaws in this comedic gem. Surprisingly, the biggest is the buddy-cop characters (played by Rogan and Bill Hader). While the bumbling cops have a few hilarious moments, their bits feel more contrived and superfluous than the teen ensemble’s comedy. Indeed, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera have such a magnificent chemistry that the movie seems to drag whenever they aren’t onscreen. Nevertheless, the wonderfully earnest performances in combination with gut-busting dialogue cements Superbad’s place as one of the great American comedies.
The 180—a Second Opinion: There is a two-minute montage of various penis drawings. You just can’t feel two ways about that sort of thing. Either you will hail it as comedy gold, because you actually thought your heart was going to explode from laughter, or you will feel that Superbad and its dingus drawings mark the absolute end of good taste in film.