By Vic Holtreman
Short version: Funny, with echoes of Revenge of the Nerds and believe it or not, a bit of heart.
Let’s cut to the chase: If you’re not a fan of explicit sexual humor and dick jokes in mass quantities, this is not the movie for you. However if that’s right up your alley and you have not-so-fond memories of high school regarding your luck with the ladies then you’ll probably enjoy Superbad.
Many of my online movie website buds seem to be worshiping at the altar of Superbad, and while I thought it was OK, I can’t say that I share their enthusiasm. It had a few laugh out loud moments for me and was mildly funny overall, but I didn’t leave the theater thinking it was the funniest thing ever. For that feeling I recommend you check out Hot Fuzz which I found far funnier overall.
The story follows a couple of high school seniors who are not in the cool crowd, to put it mildly. Evan (Michael Cera) is a mild-mannered stringpole of a kid with a really good heart and a painfully shy personality, while his best friend Seth (Jonah Hill) is an overweight guy who at least outwardly acts like he’s very confident and sure of himself – at least when he’s with Evan. A bit later in the film we meet Fogell aka “McLovin” (played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who steals the movie). Fogell is the personification of the word “dork,” but seems comfortable in his dorkiness.
The issue is that the end of their senior year is approaching and the clock is ticking on getting some sexual experience before they all head to college. Seth especially seems to be concerned (ok, obsessed) with this mission. Of course so he’s not alone in this he tries to convince his shy buddy Evan into making a move on the girl that he’s been infatuated with for a very long time. Evan, being the nice guy that he is doesn’t want to force the situation or trick her in any way.
The movie takes place over the course of about 24 hours, and the focal point comes when the girls that both Seth and Evan are interested in need booze for a party that’s happening that night. Fogell states confidently that he can get a killer fake ID which will allow them to get booze, so the boys commit to supplying liquor for the entire party. As it turns out the fake ID is pretty cheezy, listing Fogell’s fake name as only “McLovin.” Despite the fact they think it probably won’t work, they’re desperate to supply the booze and be considered relative heroes for supplying the party.
McLovin gets separated from Evan and Seth, who think he’s being arrested for trying to buy a bunch of liquor with a fake ID. He ends up going on his own adventure with the two apparently clueless police officers who seem more interested in coming across as cool guys to this nerdy teenage kid.
While some of the stuff with McLovin and the cops was pretty funny, it didn’t seem to me to fit in with the rest of the film. The two police officers (Bill Hader and Seth Rogan) seemed to have been lifted from the TV series Reno 911! while the rest of the movie seemed fairly grounded in reality.
There are a lot of conversations that take place in the movie that are pretty funny, including one where Seth reveals his bizarre childhood fascination with drawing penises in every way imaginable and many that I never would have imagined. There’s a genuineness to the dialog between Seth and Evan that was, dare I say it… touching. Especially towards the end of the film.
I’d say it’s worth checking out if you’re into this kind of comedy. I really don’t see this becoming a classic in the vein of Animal House or Revenge of the Nerds, but what do I know?
If you’re on the fence you’ll need to be in the right frame of mind to watch it. A few beers beforehand might help. :-)