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Starring: Michael Cera, Johan Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen

Directed by: Greg Mottola

Produced by: Judd Apatow, Shauna Robertson

Written by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing


     Externally, Superbad—a film about the teenage misadventures of a pair of socially-challenged best friends trying to get laid and score girlfriends before they graduate from high school—plays very much in the vein of a 1980s John Hughes teen-comedy. It even comes equipped with funky, retro-style credits to prove this comparison apt. However, like producer Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the film has an emotional range that extends much deeper than that of any Hughes picture ever did. Superbad may be highly successful on a comedic level—I have only laughed harder at a few films this year—but it isn’t all about jokes. Underneath the uproarious wit of the script is an underlying sense of melancholy that forms a certain poetic commentary on what it means to be a social-outsider as a teenager. This value is wonderfully embodied by the dialogue in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s screenplay, the nuances of Michael Cera and Jonah Hill’s lead performances, and the clever introspection of Greg Mottola’s direction.

     In the lead roles, Cera plays Evan, the timid and confused intellectual, and Hill plays Seth, the victimized nerd who desperately wants to find his way into the social spotlight. (Does anyone sense that the characters’ names reflect that the film could be an autobiography chronicling the screenwriters’ time in high school?). Evan and Seth’s goal: to win their ways into the hearts of Becca (Martha Maaclsac) and Jules (Emma Stone). In order to accomplish this, the two goofballs will need to provide the alcohol at the party Jules is throwing. The two set out to obtain the liquor with the help of deranged friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz Plasse), who buys a fake ID and takes on the persona of a “25-year-old, Hawaiian organ-donor” named only “McLovin’”. Their plan, of course, goes desperately wrong. The liquor store that Fogell decides to buy the alcohol at is robbed while he is being rung up. All the while, Evan and Seth are coaxed into stealing replacement-booze for Becca and Jules from a sketchy party they are invited to by a fugitive who hits Seth with his car. Not long after, the two get into even more trouble and find themselves running from a pair of dimwitted cops, who have since taken in an unknowing “McLovin’” in as a guest officer for the night.

     Despite the presence of immoral and illegal behavior throughout, which may confuse some teenagers, Superbad is a surprisingly moral film. Young viewers who are able to fully understand its themes will find themselves enriched by and identifying with the material. There is a sort of beauty to Evan and Seth’s foul-mouthed conversations and delusional actions, as they perfectly capture a contemporary snapshot of the healthy troubles and realizations of the teenage years. I may have never acted as bombastically as either member of the leading duo when I was in high school, but I could certainly identify with their character-transformations throughout the film as I watched it. Of course, all of this being said, I don’t want to underscore just how laugh-out-loud funny Superbad is. Sympathetic and endearing as the film may be, it also functions terrifically as a straight-up comedy. One thing is for sure: whether it has you laughing or has you reflecting, Superbad will always have you engaged and entertained.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 8.18.2007

Screened on: 8.17.2007 at the UltraStar Del Mar Highlands 8 in Del Mar, CA.


Superbad is rated R and runs 114 minutes.

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