Apatow & co. give more good times


on August 17, 2007 by Tim Cogshell
From the same filmmakers that gave us The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up , as well as the highly acclaimed but short-lived television series Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared , comes Superbad . Greg Mottola, who wrote and directed for those Judd Apatow-created TV series, directs, and Seth Rogen, who regularly appears in Apatow projects, from Freaks and Geeks to Knocked Up , co-writes and executive produces. The result is a certain consistency of style, tone, character and perspective, though some may prefer a less-flattering term: “sameness.”

Depending how enamored one is of the Freaks and Geeks mode of storytelling that Apatow and company rely on, Superbad will play as either yet another great movie about the rise of the endearing loser or yet another annoying movie about the rise of…well, you get the picture. As one who generally digs the Apatow canon, we can say that the former more aptly describes Superbad . It's funny, but there's something a more meaningful going on—if one cares to notice.

An R-rated coming-of-age comedy steeped in the tradition of classics like Porky's , Fast Times at Ridgemont High and American Pie , Superbad is crass and juvenile, but, like the better moments in those films (and Apatow's better movies), it's pithy and has at its core a certain verisimilitude that is endearing—even sweet.

Seth (Jonah Hill, Accepted ) and Evan (Michael Cera, TV's Arrested Development ) are a couple of ordinary geeks of the sort that populate Apatow movies. They are rude (at least to each other), hormonally imbalanced, sexually obsessed, codependent and possibly brighter than they look. They are also devoted to each other in the way that only coming-of-age young people can be—with complete sincerity.

Which is the interesting turn that Superbad takes. While it is chockfull of the silly putty that holds most teen comedies together, including a couple of inept stoner cops (Rogen and Bill Hader), a MILF and many boner jokes, it's really about these boys and how they need and support each other and how that's not a bad thing, even when it results in what looks like a lot of silliness.

The point is that while Superbad is just as dumb as it looks in every way, there's also something fairly sophisticated going on, which is always a pleasant, and genuine, surprise.
Distributor: Sony
Cast: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen and Bill Hader
Director: Greg Mottola
Screenwriters: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Producers: Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R for pervasive crude and sexual content, strong language, drinking, some drug use and a fantasy/comic violent images—all involving teens
Running time:
Release date: August 17, 2007
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