Sunday, February 10, 2013

Superbad [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

Hard to believe it's almost been six years since Superbad hit theaters. I remember seeing this when it came out on DVD after it's initial theatrical run. Since I was a filthy teenager at the time, of course I loved it. I saw it a couple times since, with friends, hanging out with people, etc. But this is the first time I've actually watched it again and focused in on the story, jokes and all the little nuances of this movie. Seth Rogen co-wrote one of the best raunchy coming of age teen comedies of all time. Though it's still behind the likes of Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Dazed and Confused. Superbad is one of the modern comedies that really sort-of captured what it felt like for the less popular kids at the end of high-school.

Superbad follows the story of Seth, Evan and Fogell (Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Chrisopher Mintz-Plasse). They are in their senior year of high-school and Evan and Fogell have gotten into different schools than Seth. Seth is paired with a girl named Jules (Emma Stone) in their home-ec class one day. She invites him to a party she's throwing since her parents are out of town. Since that day Fogell is getting a fake ID, Seth offers to being the alcohol to the party. Fogell shows the ID to Seth and Evan later in the day, but they highly dislike it for many reasons, including the name being only listed as "McLovin'". Seth decides that they have to use the ID and gives Fogell the list of alcohol to get. The ID works, but as he's paying a thief runs in, punches Fogell and steals the money form the cash register. The police are called and two cops, Slater and Michaels (Bill Hader and Seth Rogen) take statements from everyone. Seth and Evan decide that Fogell is a lost cause and leave to go to a party with a guy who hit Seth with his car. Meanwhile Fogell gets a impromptu ride-along. The two groups go in drastically different directions en route to Jules' party. Seth and Evan deal with the idea of finally being separated going to different schools, while Fogell gets once in a lifetime advice from two unorthodox cops.

This is one of Apatow's five best comedies during the years of 2004 to 2007. Where arguably he had his best comedies made. Anchorman, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Talladega Nights and Knocked Up are some of my favorite comedies of all time and Superbad stands with them pretty well. Co-written by Seth Rogen there's a ton of great one-liners and dialogue in one of the most raunchy and perverted movies you'll ever see. From a kid with an addiction to drawing penises, to a buddy cop duo so irreverent that would make anyone join the force, this movie is a lot more than over using curse words. The interactions between the characters, especially scenes involving the main three, are great. I was a high-school kid once upon a time, as I'm sure most people reading this are. We would try to put on acts in front of out parents or teachers, but we all wanted to be the cool kids. Cursing, cracking inappropriate jokes and sneaking around was apart of growing up. Though maybe not as much to this scale for a lot of us. The plot for this is pretty straightforward, though done in a way that was unique to help the comedy along. I mean kids getting a bad fake ID to buy booze for a party sounds really dull. Throwing in the "cool" cops, the older man going through a rough patch hitting a kid with his car and the high-school crushes we all had, makes the story more real and relatable. The music was an awesome touch as well, as it wasn't just generic party music. Exclusive jazz tracks by Lyle Workman and even a shout-out to The Roots, make this music in this pop.

There are a couple drawbacks to this though for me. Aside from the main five there's not a ton of character development. I would've loved to see Jules and Becca get more screen time as they were the main girls and it felt like we didn't REALLY get to know their characters till the last 30 minutes or so of the movie. Emma Stone has a great comedic air about her and this being one of her first movies I guess they didn't wanna test those waters too much. Now I've seen both versions of this, the theatrical and unrated editions. Both felt long to me, with the unrated sometimes being a chore. There's a ton of dragging or unnecessary scenes. The bar scene, while funny, could've been made shorter or cut. Also the parallel scene with Seth and Evan at the strangers party, while again funny, could've been cut down at the very least. Length is a huge plus or minus for me with movies. Nearly two hour comedies take a lot to be good the whole time. Cutting stuff definitely would've made this movie in that tier with something like 40-Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up. One more thing, and I say this with a lot of movies since a lot are filmed in LA, try to take advantage of the LA scenery. LA, from everything I've seen over the years is a beautiful place. Put in some pull backs, shots of famous landmarks or skylines. It doesn't hurt ANY movie to do that.

This is really one of the last few great Apatow produced movies before his slide began in 2009 after Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers and Pineapple Express. Seth Rogen co-wrote one of the great coming of age comedies of all time. Jonah Hill, established himself as a great lead for comedies, Michael Cera cemented himself as the type-cast timid funny man and Christopher Mintz-Plasse may have unfortunately given himself "McLovin'" for life. The length is something that I get by because Bill Hader and Seth Rogen play off each other so well in so many scenes. Even the long or unneeded ones. There is plenty of laughs that still stand today in whatever version you do watch and this is a good comedy to go back to every once in awhile.

1 comment:

  1. Such a good repeat viewing movie. I also thought the unrated version wasn't so great. Some of the jokes went on too long whereas if they'd been kept shorter they'd have been more effective!