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Frat Pack Tribute Movie Review: Superbad


The long-awaited teen comedy from Producer Judd Apatow and Actor/Cowriter Seth Rogen is here. Three teenage friends Seth (Jonah Hill), Evan (Michael Cera), and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) have only two more weeks before they graduate from high school. Trying to score booze to get into a party, the gang meets up with two immature cops (Bill Hader, Seth Rogen). Get ready for the summer's raunchiest comedy!



Review by Kevin Crossman

Featuring standout performances and outrageous situations and dialogue, Superbad writers Seth Rogen and Evan Golberg have created the most refreshingly honest and hilarious teen comedy in twenty five years. Deceptively simple in plot, the film shows better than any other that time in a young man's live when he realizes that he cannot be a "boy" hanging out with his friends anymore, and must instead become a man.

High school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are nerdy friends who would rather than out with their even more social inept friend Fogel (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) rather than muster the courage to talk to girls or attend parties. We meet the pair a couple weeks before graduation when the realization that they will graduate as virgins creates an urgent plan of action. Evan pines for nice girl Becca (Martha MacIsaac), but Seth makes outlandish insults about her. We soon understand that Becca had a major part in a seminal moment of Seth's childhood. Meanwhile, Seth wants to have sex with Jules (Emma Stone) who seems a bit more of an edgy girl, but still one that is on speaking terms with her geeky suitor. Jules is throwing a party, which provides Seth an opportunity to score if only he can deliver at bringing the alcohol for the party. He hopes that by being the hero he can ply Jules with liquor to make her his girlfriend for the summer so he can attend college with some sexual experience.

Thankfully, Fogel has obtained a fake ID - a Hawaiian organ donor named "McLovin'." Soon, Fogel is purchasing the alcohol but before he can leave the store he is assaulted by a hooded robber. Two fun-loving cops show up to take a report. Officer Slater (Bill Hader) and Officer Michaels (Seth Rogen) are immediately identified by the audience as modern Keystone Cops, and they soon take McLovin' under their wing and set off for a series of adventures. Separated by their friend and the alcohol they need for the party, Seth and Evan meet a stranger and attend a different party looking to sneak some booze out to take to Jules'. Will they make it to the party? How will they transport the alcohol? And who will score with their girl? Superbad's third act answers these questions and many others.

All of the actors are pitch-perfect in their respective roles, especially the three male leads. Hill has stolen scenes in several films and proves that he can carry a film as well. His character Seth is profane, obnoxious, but ultimately sensitive and a good guy. Michael Cera's Evan is a more subtle character but ultimately less insecure than he might seem at first. And Mintz-Plasse is a geek god in the making after his charismatic screen debut. He's the most memorable character in a film full of them. And while this film is obviously male-centered, I saw unique things from the Becca and Jules characters as well. MacIsaac in particular illustrates the foibles and pressures of peer pressure and teen sex better than any actress since Jennifer Jason-Leigh.

The events of Superbad take place during a single day, which in less hands could hamper character development. But writers Rogen and Goldberg have handed director Greg Mottola a rich set of characters and scenes to work with, and Mottola gets the best out of the group of up and coming actors. Lyle Workman's collection of funk classics and original songs recorded by likes of Bootsy Collins work well to connect this universe together. Producer Judd Apatow has provided the screenwriters with the freedom to come up with an encyclopedia of funny lines and joke setups. The movie is a blast and you'll want to watch over and over again.

There's a final scene that ties the story together in a satisfying way. While some may view the scene on the surface as the culmination of the "boy meets girl" plots, it should be viewed by the more important underlying context of "boy loses boy" or even "boy grows up." As such, Frat Pack fans familiar with the male-bonding plot-lines will have a lot to like with the story arc of Seth and Evan.

The only film that I can recall seeing that treated it's teen characters in such as realistic way was Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). From the profane dialogue to some subtle cultural references, Superbad is very similar to the teen classic. Ridgemont has the edge currently, only because we don't know yet if the Superbad crew will turn into the stable of superstars that we saw in the Amy Heckerling classic. But, I have no doubt that twenty five years from now Superbad will be viewed as the best example of early 21st century teen-angst. As a 40 year-old who remembers what it was like to be a virgin, Superbad is anything but. It plays the notes perfectly.