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Superbad is Supergood!

Movie title: Superbad (2007)
Grade: A- (4 stars)
Rated: R
Director: Greg Mattola
Producers: Judd Apatow, (Exec.) Evan Goldberg, Shauna Robertson, (Exec.) Seth Rogen, Dara Weintraub
Starring: Jonah Hill “Seth,” Michael Cera “Evan,” Christopher Mintz-Plasse “Fogell,” Bill Hader “Officer Slater,” Seth Rogen “Officer Michaels,” Martha MacIsaac “Becca,” Emma Stone “Jules,” Aviva “Nicola”
Genre: Comedy
Summation: Two co-dependent high school seniors (Hill and Cera) are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.
Spoilers ahead: No
In a word: Crass

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I don’t know why, but so many movies really blow it when it comes to exchanges between young people. I don’t know what it is with Hollywood directors. It may not be solely their faults though. Perhaps it’s the fault of all adults in that as we get older, we loose the ability to get in touch with and relate to kids like we once were. This shortcoming always shows through in the dialogue of a film where kids are portrayed to say things they normally wouldn’t.

Superbad is a breath of fresh air in a bottomless sea of stunted movies where kids say and do the most unrealistic things. Superbad gets it right. This is how most kids talk and these are the things they talk about—scoring booz and bagging babes while struggling within themselves to find their way. This is life for the average high schooler, and that is the plot in Superbad.

But mind you, Superbad is a quality movie because of the human dynamics that are dealt with instead of the usual death sentences to teen-centered movies, where dopey, brainless pot-smoking, and mindless party-going is all there is. Superbad doesn’t go that route. It gets deep into friendships, social acceptance, peer pressure, the pursuit of romance, and even disappointing college arrangements.

The story begins with two friends who have their eyes on some girls, and lo and behold, the opportunity to hook up with them comes along in the form of the opportunity to get alcohol for a party. They take it, but getting the alcohol requires a fake ID. With the commencement of the journey to acquire one and the pitfalls of some major inconveniences – like kooky cops, car troubles, a car wreck, and encounters with irate partying drunks – it’ll turn out to be a night they won’t soon forget.

Superbad is dirty and profanely realistic, but unlike so many barely smile-worthy movies in its genre, it’s actually funny—yes, funny with the kind of detail-oriented humor that surfaces in real life predicaments. The storyline is rich and always crassly entertaining.

Superbad has other story elements as well, including a frayed friendship dynamic between Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), the two best friends and leading roles in the film. There are the self-esteem issues of Fogel (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), as well as the development of romances for Seth and Evan.

Add to that, the film flows and keeps flowing with a consistent introduction, body, and conclusion. It’s quite tidy. When you’re done watching, you feel like two of your own best friends made up and buried the hatchet on some old issues. Meanwhile, their tag-along friend had the confidence-building night of his life. That’s what is so warm about the movie.

But the thing I liked best about it was the fittingness of the characters. You look at the actors selected to play these parts and you say to yourself, “Those could have been my buddies growing up.” These kids aren’t cupie-doll jocks or prepped-out 90210 pretty boys. These are average kids and they look and act the part. They’re believable and they’re funny.

If, like me, you have a special loathing in your heart for the brain-dead bundles of butt-hash that make kid-oriented movies as senseless as they are, cut the cynicism just once for Superbad. Odds are, you’ll be shocked at the difference and probably enthralled at what it has to offer.

(JH)

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