SUPERBAD (2007 Columbia unrated extended edition)
Directed by Greg Mottola
While the Apatow Company’s best films are behind them now, in 2007 they were coming off the dual hits 40 Year old Virgin, and Knocked Up. Those films featured a core of recurring actors, including Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco and the whole gang that we are all familiar with today. Then, this kind of comedy was fresh. Today, Superbad is the only Apatow I can still watch regularly and laugh like it’s the first time.
I love a movie with a great rock soundtrack, and Superbad features Van Halen (“Panama”), Motorhead (“Ace of Spades”), and Ted Nugent (“Stranglehold”). There’s even The Roots! Even better, and incorporated into the comedy, is the Guess Who’s “These Eyes” as performed by Michael Cera. It is a case 0f mistaken identity and Cera’s character Evan is in a spot. I’m cracking up thinking about it. “He’s Jimmy’s brother, the guy! The singer! He’s the guy with the beautiful voice that I was telling you about!” And then, “My brother came all the way from Scottsdale Arizona to be here tonight. And you’re not going to sing for him? You sing, and sing good!” The last song I would have chosen to sing under such circumstances would have been “These Eyes”, but that’s why this is a comedy movie.
Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are highschool versions of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who wrote this movie, but were too old to play the parts. It’s the end of highschool, and together with their friend Fogell aka “McLovin” (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who absolutely nails it in his film debut), they aim to score some liquor for a party. Once they have booze, they will be like heroes to Jules (Emma Stone) and Becca (Martha MacIsaac) at the party, and possibly score some coitus. McLovin has the fake ID, but acquiring the alcohol is only the first of many stumbling blocks.
Seth Rogen and Bill Hader play incompetent cops, but their intentionally stupid scenes will make you groan rather than laugh. Bad decisions by all the characters may have you shaking your head asking “why?”, but you have to put your mind in the hormones of a highschool kid aiming to get his first touchy feely. Guys do stupid things not unlike the people in this movie. I know guys who’ve done things like this when they were kids. I’ve made plenty of stupid decisions while chasing someone of the fairer sex. Granted, I’ve never been hit by a car and then talked into not calling the cops in exchange for going to a badass party where I can steal some booze. That exact situation has never happened to me or anyone I know. But it’s fucking hilarious.
The most enjoyable comedy usually comes from the banter between Hill and Cera. Their blunt vulgarity has a certain art to it. I can still quote lines from this movie, and people know which ones I’m talking about. “Something like 8% of kids do it, but whatever.”
In this film, Seth and Evan are going to different colleges and there is a tension between the two characters over this. Both of them feel differently about it, and this is the most relateable part of the movie. The end of highschool feels like the top of the world for a brief moment, but then in the fall friendships split up, sometimes forever (until Facebook came along anyway). Superbad is basically a movie about two guys trying to get some, but the tension in the friendship is ultimately what drives the story to its conclusion. Cera and Hill are funny indeed, but the friendship they portray seems real.
The unrated edition is loaded to the gills with bonus features, and honestly a good chunk of them are worth checking out. You can skip the “Cop Car Confessions”, but definitely watch “Everyone Hates Michael Cera – The Unfortunate True Story”. And of course, don’t miss “The Music of Superbad” either. Bootsy Collins and Lyle Workman put together an unexpectedly cool soundtrack.