Distributed By: Sony Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Have you ever gone to a movie rental store with a bunch of friends and cringed at the rental suggestion one of those friends made but rented the movie anyway out of deference to your friend? A couple of weeks ago, I was in that exact position. See, I wanted to rent Juno because I had heard so many good things about the movie. But for some reason, when you’re at the rental store with friends, there is some unwritten protocol that says you can’t just rent one movie. I picked up Juno right away – it was the reason we were at the rental store in the first place and so, I was done with my “shopping”. My friends were not. One of them picked up the movie Superbad and immediate cringing on my part resumed. I had seen the promos for this movie and had already labeled it in my mind as a teeny-bopper movie I had no interest in seeing. But my friend was afflicted by peels of laughter at the thought of us watching the movie he had thought to be hysterical when he saw it in the theaters. How could I say no?
Superbad centers around Seth and Evan, two high school seniors who have been friends since they were eight years old. Upon graduation from high school, Seth and Evan will be parting ways, Seth attending the local university while Evan attends Dartmouth with sometimes friend Fogell. Unhappy at the thought of being separated, but not exactly wanting to deal with the issue, the two pretend that they are fine with the idea. They decide to avoid the subject altogether by going to a party with the objects of their desire Jules and Becca. Evan has wanted to go out with Becca for some time, but his shyness has prevented him from even hinting at a date. Seth’s drooling fits over Jules are rather recent.
Seth believes that the only way he could possibly have a chance at “getting with” Jules is if she’s drunk. He convinces Evan that a party would be the perfect way to ensure that he and Evan have sex before they begin their college studies. But when Seth agrees to provide the liquor for the party, things invariably get crazy. They enlist Fogell to purchase the alcohol with his recently purchased fake I.D. Unfortunately, the I.D. is less than perfect and calamity ensues upon its very first use. The three teens find themselves on an adventure of insanity as they try to get their hands on enough liquor to make them heroes in the eyes of the party-goers.
When I saw the previews of this movie, my instant impression was that this was a movie for teenagers. But when my friend, who is way older than a teenager, stated that he had loved the movie and suggested we watch it after Juno, I figured what the hell. Yeah, first impressions are sometimes spot on. You see, Superbad is simply a sillier version of the movie American Pie and while most of the content was sexually explicit, this was a film that only a teenager, or someone who had just completed their teenage years, would find much value in.
Yes, I did find myself laughing at the incredulity of some of the situations Seth, Evan and Fogell find themselves in. However, I found the sexual language to be a bit excessive and the adventures the teens experienced to be way over the top. I don’t know anyone who didn’t have a fake I.D. when they were younger, but I also don’t know anyone who has been befriended by the cops because of it and driven to a local bar to share brews with said cops. And that’s not even the half of it.
Jonah Hill’s portrayal of Seth made the viewer truly dislike his character. I don’t believe that this was what the director was going for – you should be rooting for Seth to achieve his ultimate goal, not actively hoping that he will fail. You should feel sorry for Seth that his best friend is about to move on, not happy that Evan is finally getting away from this stunted schmuck. Even though Evan is the character to like in this movie, at times, Michael Cera’s portrayal of Evan is somewhat annoying. It’s as if Evan feels he’s better than Seth and you wonder why the two ever became friends in the first place. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is hysterical as Fogell. His character actually steals the movie. You’d rather know what happens to Fogell than to Seth and Evan.
The reality is that there isn’t much reality to the whole movie and, while some parts were funny, the movie as a whole wasn’t all that enjoyable. The thought that kept running through my mind – American Pie was funnier without being so over the top unbelievable. Word to the wise – if you have been planning to see Superbad and don’t mind watching silly comedies containing teenage humor, Superbad is right for you. If you want something a bit more grown up, quickly pass by Superbad and move on to something else. Quickly, before someone picks it up and you feel obligated to rent it!