"You scratch our backs, we'll scratch yours."
"Funny thing about my back, is... it's located on my cock."
Superbad on IMDB
I almost don't want to give a synopsis here, even a brief one, because that would make this movie sound even sillier than, admittedly, it is. Basically, two awkward teenagers about to graduate high school, whiny asshole Seth and shy geeky Evan, try to get alcohol to impress two girls. Seth likes Jules, who's planning to throw a party, and Evan likes but is oblivious to the overtures of Becca. Meanwhile, their friend Fogel is the only one with a fake -- and he chose to change his name to "McLovin." Chaos ensues when McLovin is interrupted in his large purchase by a burglary, and taken on a wild ride by two cops -- one played by Seth Rogen, a writer of the script. Meanwhile, Seth and Evan have to deal with their impending separation, since Evan got into Dartmouth and Seth didn't. The last half of the movie actually kind of goes haywire, with a bunch of pointless digressions that make the ending seem twenty or thirty minutes late. (But it's still pretty damn funny getting there.)
If you liked Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, you'll probably like this movie, as it involves a lot of the Apatow crew if not Apatow himself, and a similar sensibility. It's funny and incredibly crude and a little bit wise. The two friends are so clueless about girls that it's almost unbelievable, except that most of us -- except the lucky few who were cool in high school -- have been there.
I saw this over a week ago, and it's taken so long to post about it because I was mulling over this review (via Cinematical), which sparked a controversy. Flick Filosopher's review took issue with the film's treatment of women's sexuality, or lack thereof, saying that "[Superbad] suggests that these mysteries have yet to be solved, or even broached, by anyone involved in making this movie." I think it's a valid point that there's precious little adult wisdom about sexuality to be found in Superbad except insofar as the adolescents' "wisdom" is so ludicrous as to be clearly immature. And the treatment of the girls in the movie is minimalistic in the extreme; they don't behave exactly according to the boys' expectations, surprising them by being actual autonomous beings, but the movie doesn't care all that much about them.
Well... in the end, that's fine with me. I mean, teenaged boys don't always care about girls as autonomous beings either. (Grown-up boys, ditto.) Superbad is about the two boys and their friendship, and it does a great job with that -- it's funny and over-the-top but still real. Jonah Hill's character is a huge asshole, but he's hilarious; Michael Cera as shy Evan has great comic timing with his straight-man bit; and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fogell/McLoven is perfect as the ridiculous tool that we try to pretend we're not really friends with. They really want to relate to girls, but they just can't, and that's their whole problem. Superbad doesn't give them big epiphanies about girls (just one or two little ones), saving the big breakthrough for the Evan/Seth friendship. In the end, the boys don't understand much more about girls than they did in the beginning. And that's the way high school often goes.
In Summary: Funny and crude and spot-on, if a little bit too long. But if the Seth from the movie is anything like Seth Rogen in real life, then my drooling crush on Seth Rogen will end.
07/27/07: Knocked Up (2006)