I feel as though this film needs no introduction, but for those of you who have been in a humour-free cave for the past eight years – well, this is for you.
‘Superbad’ came at a time when Apatow films were the shit (note: Apatow did not actually direct ‘Superbad’, but he was heavily involved), and it smashed the previous hits of ’40 Year Old Virgin’, ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Knocked Up’ clean out of the water. The signature humour is there, cemented by the writing skills of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Written when they were mere teens, around 14 years old, this film is apparently more biopic than it seems, making me wish that I knew the young pair all the more. Jonah Hill executes a teen Seth perfectly, enhanced only by Michael Cera as the endearing Evan. The pair’s chemistry is the best that I have witnessed on screen – yes, better than ‘Thelma & Louise’. We watch them fumble through senior year and approach College, leaving us longing to be a part of the duo’s inner circle and personal jokes.
The film has a funny way of creating situations and jokes that are entirely personal to the characters and “you had to be there” moments, yet allowing the viewer to feel just about involved enough to cry with laughter every other scene. Comedic timing and deep-rooted humour cannot be mentioned without applauding Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who acts as the target of all jokes and ultimately, the rift between Evan and Seth.
One of the reasons for the film’s success is undoubtedly its candid view on the high school experience and crude teen humour. The opening scene is a graphic, yet hilarious, discussion over what porn site the boys should subscribe to for the coming year. It’s rare for a film to perfectly depict teen male humour without objectifying the female characters – of which Emma Stone is the star as Jules – but ‘Superbad’ manages it.
Alcohol inevitably plays a large role, with the boys offering to supply for an entire party in order to impress their respective love interests, and for the notoriety that they crave as the original inbetweeners. Fogell obtaining a fake ID naming him only as McLovin is one of the most memorable and most quoted moments of the entire film; hilarious for both childish reasons and irony alike. The film manages to make a joke of almost everything and everyone, yet never at the expense of a strong storyline or the characters’ integrity.
However, my favourite moment of the entire viewing has to be Evan’s adorably awkward character finding himself in a situation with a number of loutish, drugged-up men and being mistaken for a locally known guy with an excellent singing voice. He is then forced to sing for the group in an incredibly cringey and again, hilarious manner. I like to think that this is typical of a situation that Michael Cera has once found himself in.
Dick-humour and drama aside, the real storyline is a tale of success and envy, with Evan being accepted to a prestigious school, meaning that he and Seth will be separated in the near future. Love naturally saves the day, with the duo both finding success with their teen sweethearts and maturing just enough to realise that this isn’t the end, just a stepping stone.
Another attribute that pushes ‘Superbad’ into the cult-movie hall of fame is the soundtrack. As someone who both champions and scrutinises music with a passion, I cannot fault the selection. Who doesn’t appreciate a movie where the music not only compliments the storyline, but has you playing the soundtrack on a loop later that night?
This is my go-to film when I want, or need, a laugh. I detest the odd comparison to the likes of ‘American Pie’, as ‘Superbad’ is not only smarter but more relatable than the cheap humour ‘American Pie’ has to offer. I beg you, if you have not already, watch ‘Superbad’, yearn to be a part of the trio, and you will never look back.
Director: Greg Mottola
Starring: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Stone