(Columbia) Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader, Martha MacIsaac, Emma Stone, Aviva, Joe Lo Truglio, Kevin Corrigan, Marcella Lentz-Pope, Roger Iwata, Carla Gallo. Directed by Greg Mottola.
One of the hottest names in comedy in is Judd Apatow, who is a producer on Superbad. Better still, the writer and one of the stars is another hot name, Seth Rogen (who starred in Apatow’s Knocked Up).
It is the waning days of their senior year and best friends Seth (Hill) and Evan (Cera) have passed through their high school years unremarkably, not cool enough to hang with the “A” crowd and as a result, score with the girls, but not quite dorky enough to be all-out geeks. There is a little tension in the air between them, however; Evan has been accepted to Dartmouth whereas Seth, who is not quite as smart as his friend, could only get into a state college.
They are going through their last weeks being put upon by jocks and wishing they could go to one last party, when they are invited to one by Jules (Stone), one of the cooler girls in school. The problem is that Seth has bragged that they have a fake ID and can get liquor for the party, so Jules is expecting them to. Making things worse, Becca (MacIasaac), a girl Evan has had a crush on, like, forever, is expecting him at the party too.
They might be okay though; their truly dorky friend Fogell (Mintz-Plasse) has gotten himself a fake ID which labels him a 25-year-old organ donor from Hawaii named McLovin (no first name). Seth is pulling his naturally curly hair out by the roots, but Fogell – er, McLovin – is confident. He goes into a liquor store, gets the items on the list provided by Seth and Evan, brings the bottles to the front counter – and gets cold-cocked by a robber.
The case is being investigated by two cops you won’t ever want to see pull you over – Slater (Hader) and Michaels (Rogen). They convince Fogell that they’ll drop him off wherever he wants to go and that they believe he’s a 25-year-old organ donor from Hawaii named McLovin. This forces Seth and Evan to improvise, leading them to the party from Hell. In the meantime, Fogell goes on a ridealong that makes “Cops” look like the “Donna Reed Show”.
This isn’t for the sensitive or the easily offended. The humor can be crude and sophomoric, and four letter words are used with great abandon. That said, this is easily one of the funniest movies of recent years. Some of the gags and jokes were laugh-out-loud, fall-out-of-your-seat, pee-your-pants funny.
The young actors do some really good work here. Mintz-Plasse, who looks like what Stewie from “The Family Guy” might look like when he grows up, is memorable as Fogell, getting not only the smarts right but also the awkwardness and false bravado letter perfect. It’s hard to believe he was only 17 years old at the time of filming. Hill has a great deal of potential, but he was unfocused at times and I wound up kind of getting sick of his character after awhile. MacIsaac is cute, sexy and does one of the better drunk seduction scenes you will ever witness.
Superbad was something of a surprise hit – although in all honesty Columbia’s publicity department pushed it hard. If you can get past the swearing and bodily fluids, you’re probably going to dig it big time. If not, well, there are reruns of I Love Lucy on TV Land that will suit you better.
WHY RENT THIS: Laugh-out-loud funny. Genuinely “gets” teenagers. Walks thin line between sentimentality and maudlin without falling off the rope.
WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: Extremely crude and sophomoric. Final third drags in places.
FAMILY MATTERS: Are you kidding? This is crude, lewd, rude and proud to be that way. Lots of filthy language, plenty of sexual situations and the unrated cut on the DVD is even farther afield than the theatrical release. Not for the kids in any way shape or form even though some of the more mature boys will want to see it.
TRIVIAL PURSUITS: The lead roles were named for co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
NOTABLE DVD EXTRAS: There are plenty in the extended unrated 2-disc DVD edition. There is a practical joke played on Jonah Hill as well as a faux documentary on actor Michael Cera, a staged interview in which Hill loses it during an interview with a snooty British interview, improvs done in the police cruiser with “special guest stars” including Justin Long, Chris Kattan, Jane Lynch and Kristen Wiig, as well as the traditional Apatow feature “Line-o-rama” in which lines of dialogue from the film are read by different actors.
FINAL RATING: 8/10
TOMORROW: Angels and Demons