A hilarious and even touching movie, Superbad rounded out a great summer for comedies, and, when I say “great summer for comedies,” I mean Hot Fuzz, Fido, The Simpsons Movie, Knocked-Up, and Superbad, two of these movies overseen by Judd Apatow himself. Superbad, while not directed by Apatow, certainly has the same look and feel as an Apatow production. There’s the usual vulgarity and gross-out humor covering what’s actually a touching story of two best friends who love each other the most two friends can, and their quest to finally lose their virginity before they split for college. Even the synopsis below makes it sounds like your typical dumb comedy, but there’s more here than you’d expect.
From the guys who brought you Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin comes Superbad. Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) want nothing more than to lose their virginity before they head off to college. To do that, though, they need to get liquor for the big party that night. With the help of their friend Fogell, a.k.a. McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and his fake I.D., the three of them go on a chase for that elusive booze, dodging incompetent cops (Knocked Up‘s Seth Rogen and Saturday Night Live‘s Bill Hader) while attempting to reverse a lifelong losing streak in one hilarious night.
First off, the opening credits to this movie are flat-out awesome. They have a real 1970’s-vibe to them, something the whole movie tried to establish, and they’re just hilarious. I’m not sure what it is about them, but they just set you up for the remainder of the movie. While the movie is set in present day, there’s just a 1970’s vibe about the whole thing, whether it’s some of the song choices, the clothing choices for the lead, or what, but this movie has a great feeling to it, one which helps it as the movie progresses.
Now, like I pointed out, the premise for the movie doesn’t exactly sound good, and it reeks of just about every other teen movie from the past twenty years. Infact, it’s sounds remarkably like the original American Pie movie, with friends who set out to lose their virginity. What saves this movie, and even propels it past the premise, is the creative team behind it and the actors in front of the camera, notably the three main leads of the film. Add in some excellent supporting players, namely the bumbling cops, and you have characters who will keep you glued to the screen for the movie’s duration. Save for the whole cop subplot, the movie is incredibly relatable. We all know what it feels like to be on the outskirts of popularity and aching to get in, to feel like we’re not good enough ourselves unless we add something to boost our self-esteem (such as alcohol, as this movie depicts). We all know what it’s like and Rogen, who wrote this script with Evan Goldberg while they were in high school, hit it right on the head.
Under all of this, however, is the emotional core. While not as prevalent as the previous Apatow flicks (which would make sense, since this was directed not by Apatow, but by Greg Mottola, who does a great job here), it’s there, and it becomes the focal point of the film’s third act. The relationship between the two leads, Seth and Evan, is not only key to the movie, but delivered perfectly by Hill and Cera. In fact, these two make a great comedy duo and, with luck, we’ll see them team-up on the big screen again sometime soon. Not only do they embody their characters fully, they sell their dilemma. And even Mintz-Plasse, as McLovin, sells his character’s goofy adventures with the cops that, while a bit silly and even totally unrealistic and outlandish, work within the confines of the movie. But, for me, it’s all about Hill and Cera, and how they make this movie work from beginning to end.
We all saw this movie take off when it hit theatres this past August, and there’s a reason for that. Its’ not only hilarious, but it’s a solid movie. Sure, it may not be as funny as some would claim, but personally, I found it absolutely hilarious because of the relatable characters. It’s a great movie, start to finish, and it’s definitely one worth checking out, worth owning, and putting alongside your copies of The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up.
And now . . . the DVD. If you enjoyed the movie, you’ll want the “Unrated” editions. Skip the theatrical versions because . . . well . . . the menus for this DVD can explain more than I ever can. Want to see more of Seth’s infamous doodles? Well . . . like I said, the main menu should help you with that. Seriously. And it’s hilarious, especially with the porno-ish 1970’s music overlaying each menu. The extras for the one-disc edition Sony Home Entertainment Canada provided me to review are pretty substantial, even for a one-disc set. Included are a whack of deleted and extended scenes, a hilarious gag reel (one of the funnier ones in recent memory), a great Line-O-Rama, Cop Car Confession, a “making of” featurette, an original 2002 table read with Rogen and Goldberg as, respectively, Seth and Evan. Commentary, a look at the blue screen process for the film’s opening credits (and what looks to be the theatrical version DVD release), and a preview of The Pineapple Express, which is an extended scene between Rogen and James Franco (Spider-Man 3 DVD Review). Overall, it’s a great collection of extras for a one-disc release and are well worth checking out after the feature.
One of the funniest movies of the year, Superbad comes Highly Recommended. Since this is being released in a plethora of different editions, if you’re a big fan, then you’ll likely want either the two-disc release or the Blu-Ray two-disc release. Now, the one-disc version, reviewed here, is still a great release and if you’re a casual moviegoer and not too interested in extras, then this is the edition for you. If you love extras, the two-disc is the way to go. While the theatrical version of the film is great, I’d still have to go with the unrated cut. There’s a bit more to see here and doesn’t hinder the film in any way. Superbad is a great film and acts as the perfect compliment to this summer’s Knocked-Up, also available to own.
Superbad hits shelves December 4th, 2007 and will be available in a one-disc theatrical edition, one-disc unrated, two-disc unrated, and a two-disc unrated Blu-Ray release.