Tuesday, August 21, 2007

'Superbad': Superawesome

Well, I had been looking forward to this one for a while and for the most part, "Superbad" (trailer) didn't disappoint. Although it was not as fun as my earlier funniest movie of the year thus far, "Knocked Up", I had a great time and certainly wished there were more comedies like this. Some might call it low, vulgar humor. I don't really buy that. I thought it was some of those things, but it had a heart and it was well done. It doesn't assume that its audience is stupid and instead finds humor in pretty human things -- not ridiculous things. I've read that it's not really a teen comedy, it's a movie about adolescence and I think that's pretty accurate.

The movie focuses on two high-school seniors hoping to score as they prepare to go to college. Sound familiar, maybe a bit like "American Pie" or any number of teen comedies? Where it differs from "American Pie" and others in this genre is that instead of trying to just get chuckles from teens with a story that is simply filler, "Superbad" seems to be actually attempting to tell a story about two friends who are really close but will soon be separating and how in many ways this friendship is more significant than any lame sex they might have at some party. Even though the movie only takes place over about one day, you get to know and love these guys and at the end you're both happy and a little bit sad for them. And boy do you laugh along the way as these guys attempt to get alcohol and go to a party while their friend ends up partying with two juvenile cops. Sounds ridiculous? Surprisingly it didn't really seem so.

One reason the movie works is because of the great pedigree it has behind it. There's definitely the stamp of producer Judd Appatow, who in "Knocked Up" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" showed a knack for creating lovable losers and put a lot of heart into hilarious comedies. Seth Rogen, who acts as one of the juvenile cops, has soared as one of Appatow's losers and in co-writing this comedy, he shows that this "comedy with heart" knack is really a part of all the people involved. But what really makes this movie work is the actors involved, who turn these guys into real people and make you laugh with them because they've let you into their world and into the joke. Although he is a side character essentially, Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays a supergeek who ends up hanging out with the cops and although he was great for comedic moments, was a bit overused. Jonah Hill plays Seth, the goofy, tubby slacker who is going to the state school, and does justice to the general goofball who excels and physical comedy. I just wish he would tone it down a bit and not yell so much. The star is Michael Cera, who plays the more straight man Evan, who is ditching his boyhood friend Seth to go to Dartmouth. As in his fantastic performance as George Michael on the brilliant "Arrested Development", he is a master at playing awkward and using his voice and pauses to make the laugh and feel bad for him at the same time. Even if the character was a bit similar to George Michael, I loved it.

So, yeah, go see the movie. It's a lot of fun and you won't feel like you have to wear dark glasses and a hat when you go to the theater.

Grade: B+

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