August 20, 2007

McLovin’ It

Print More

Yes. Wait, actually I meant to shout that. Yes! Superbad is funny. Really funny. But that fact can’t be a surprise considering it’s produced by Judd Apatow, who also produced and directed The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. What was surprising was how a simple, almost stock comedy turned into the unexpected and became such a huge success.
You probably know the story by now: Two best friends and high school seniors, Seth and Evan (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill, respectively), try to score at the last high school party of the year (though it’s their first). Evan loves Becca (Martha MacIsaac), the girl who “doesn’t know she’s hot yet,” and Seth just wants to screw Jules (Emma Stone), a surprisingly sweet and hot girl who’s party Seth and Evan plan to attend. It seems like it’s their­ last chance to score before going off college. When a third boy — a helplessly nerdy, but undeniably charming Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) — tells Seth and Evan that he’s going to obtain a fake driver’s license, Seth seizes the opportunity to impress Jules by bringing alcohol to her party. And so the story goes: a true high school Odyssey.
The film comes to life because of the unforgettable performances Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse deliver. Michael Cera has by now carved himself a niche as the painfully awkward post-pubescent teen who hasn’t quite grown into his body, or his brains. He basically plays Arrested Development’s George Michael Bluth, except a bit older and a lot cooler. Cera’s nuanced performance brings Evan to life. One standout moment is when Evan’s cell phone vibrates and startles him into a jump, wobble and, well, a sort of screech, maybe because he doesn’t usually get any phone calls! Cera’s meticulous attention to body language leads to some outrageous moments, but it’s his subtle performance that brings the character to life.
As Cera’s chubby buddy, Jonah Hill plays that kid who always says just a little too much — he always has the last word, joke and laugh. His words spill out at a mile a minute and usually go far beyond the political correct, or even socially acceptable. There are plenty of horny jokes about girls and (more often) porn, which are hilarious.
In one scene, two party-boy police officers — one of whom is played by writer Seth Rogen — befriend Fogell and break out into a Yoda imitation. Fogell remains unamused as the officer beckons Fogell to laugh, informing him that the Yoda imitation was from Attack of the Clones. This is the first definitive sign that the police officers are phonies, boobs, or even better yet, tools, since Attack of the Clones was the fifth Star Wars movie. It is a prequel to the original trilogy and any true Star Wars fan can tell you that it was a disaster, a disgrace even. Yoda made his first appearance in 1980 in the second Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back. As Fogell refuses to laugh at the police officer’s shoddy imitation the audience is queued that the police officers are not funny, or even really Fogell’s friend.The film opens with Seth and Evan chatting on their cell phones and they just do not stop. Unlike other Apatow films, such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Anchorman and Talladega Nights, which rely on inherently funny situations and Will Ferrell, this film gets it’s humor from its fairly normal characters.
By the end of the film, Seth and Evan have to talk their problems out and while it is no surprise that the boys do work things out, it is how they do it that throws the viewers a curve. Beneath the hilarity and memorable performances lies a text that actually means something. The movie is sweet, but not saccharine. As Seth and Evan talk through their problems, so does the film. In the future, let us hope that this gang’s mouth doesn’t stay shut.