MovieMantz Review: ‘Superbad’


by Scott Mantz

Starring: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera
Directed by: Greg Mottola

The summer may be over, but get ready to laugh ‘til it hurts. Not only is “Superbad” one of the funniest movies of the year, but it also ranks up there with “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Risky Business” and “American Pie” as one of the best teen sex comedies ever made.

Actually, that’s not surprising, since it comes from a team of filmmakers who are on something of a roll these days. It was produced by Judd Apatow, who directed 2005’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and this summer’s sleeper hit “Knocked Up,” and it was co-written by Seth Rogen, who acted in those films.

But what sets “Superbad” apart from other teen comedies is it emphasis on friendship. Sure, the movie is full of raunchy jokes about sex, getting drunk and a particular appendage of the male anatomy, but its heart is in the right place with a sweet message about friendship.

Evan (Michael Cera) is a sweet, smart, socially awkward high school senior. Seth (Jonah Hill) is his vile, obnoxious, sexually awkward best friend. With time running out before they graduate, they have just one chance to go out with a bang. All they have to do is score some beer, crash a party and hook up with hot girls. That would be easy if they weren’t, you know, nerdy high school kids – but do you really think that’s gonna stop them from trying?

In terms of other classic coming-of-age comedies, “Superbad” takes its cues from the best. Like “American Graffiti” and “Dazed and Confused,” all the action takes place in one day. The nerds are the heroes here, like they were in “Revenge of the Nerds,” and there’s even a nod to “The Hollywood Knights,” thanks to a couple of bumbling cops played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader.

Every crowd has a leader who thinks he’s cooler than he really is, and in “Superbad,” newcomer Jonah Hill plays that role perfectly. He’s bound to become something of a cult hero (I can see his face on a tee shirt any day now), while Michael Cera effectively provides the balance as the sweet-natured yin to Hill’s over-the-top yang. Christopher Mintz-Plasse rounds out the trio with a hysterical performance, and his attempt to crash a liquor store with a fake ID is one for the books.

Truth be told, you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to high school. I got picked on a lot, I was horrible at sports, and I couldn’t get a date to save my life (still can’t, sadly). Yes, I was that guy. But watching a movie about high school that’s as superfunny as “Superbad?” Class (or lack thereof) is definitely back in session!


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