Like millions of Americans, I went to see the movie “Superbad” the other day, but unlike millions of Americans I’m probably the only person on the planet to have anything negative to say about it-but here goes!
I only have myself to blame really, I knew what I was getting into (rude, vulgar humor, filled with bad language- in fact the word "f--k" is used 186 times in the movie!) but after hearing countless accolades about it, such as “classic teen movie of our time” and “funniest teen comedy since “American Pie” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” I decided to give it a chance.
If you didn’t already know “Superbad” is another Judd Apatow/SethRogen collaboration. First let me start off by saying, I didn’t think “Knocked Up” was all that good of a movie, sure it was cute and all, but it certainly didn’t deserve all the attention and kudos it received. Sadly neither does “Superbad.”
And not just "didn't live up to the hype" kinda thing, more like “it pretty much sucked” kinda thing.
It's the script that brings the movie down really.
Those who see Apatow's name in the credits might expect the same type of comedy along the lines of his other smash hits, like "Knocked Up" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." Well it is and it isn’t.
You see this time around, Apatow was not the writer or the director, he was only the producer (a.k.a. the money man), and so your expectations might be lowered or raised.
I liked “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” well…not so much, so I’m kind of stuck in the middle on the subject.
Anyway his "Knocked Up" star, Seth Rogen, wrote the script along with his friend, Evan Goldberg, back when they were just 13 years old. Wow, impressive. When asked why they wrote it they simply answered "we just wanted to see if we could write a movie." It sure is nice having rich friends in Hollywood these days!
The movie is based around two nerdy kids Seth and Evan (boy, that’s original, guys) about to graduate high school, suffering from separation anxiety. This is will be their last summer together before Evan goes away to college. Evan has been accepted at Dartmouth, while Seth will be staying behind at a community state school.
It all takes place during a single day and night, all centering around the “used to death” premise of underage kids itching to get laid and getting drunk. That's just the set-up for the film. There are plenty of weird and bizarre moments that I won’t even go into.
Naturally, two guys like them from the geek squad have crushes on two girls clearly out of their league and the weird thing is the girls actually seem to like them.
SideNote: A true exercise in ‘suspension of disbelief’ applies perfectly here! A cool term I recently learned which quite simply means in exchange for realism the audience agrees to suspend their judgment in exchange for the promise of entertainment.
So anyway they offer to score all of the booze for a big party that one of the girls is throwing, with the help of their friend Fogell (a.k.a. McLovin) played by newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
SideNote: This is the kid’s first movie; in fact he is an 18 year old non-actor who was cast after a nationwide search.
Ah, McLovin, you gotta love him! He steals the movie. Christopher Mintz-Plasse definitely has a lifetime of "Hey! McLovin!" to look forward to.
McLovin works because Mintz-Plasse gives his all to the role and reminds us of every geeky kid we’ve ever known in our lives.
Although I suspect playing a nerd wasn’t too much of a stretch for him- what? I mean c’mon have you seen the kid?
It’s a great first appearance for this kid. Let’s just hope it’s not his last, he’s got the goods, and even though he will never be the handsome male lead in anything (real life or otherwise) I would hate to see him get typecast as the nerd character forever.
To be fair I will say all three of the actors had great chemistry together and were believable as longtime best friends.
I didn’t even mind the constant bickering and teasing of one another, it felt real. Ironically what I did mind was their mind-numbing seemingly ordinary, conversations with each other. Let’s just say they are all done in “real-time” with no breaks that seemed to go on forever.
Their journey involves several bus rides (Seth has a car, but it's been towed), hit and runs, criminals and weirdos, and two reckless, bored cops with wayy too much time on their hands, played by Seth Rogen (co-writer) and Bill Hader.
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And that’s where the movie took an enormous nose dive! The cops are the biggest problem with "Superbad." These friggin’ cops just would not go away! (I guess there aren’t that many Dunkin Donuts in their neck of the woods- I kid, I kid.) And just when you think they've left the movie for good, they pop up again for more excessive and unnecessary high jinks.
What might otherwise sound good on paper, and even look cute in the previews -isn’t. They took an otherwise mediocre, coming of age teen flick and turned it into something so much worse- a long, mediocre, coming of age teen flick with no redeeming adult role models whatsoever. It seems like the writers thought stupid, drunken cops was funny as a concept and ran with it.
Jeez, I just realized something- the cops even overstayed their welcome and took over this review! And if you thought this thing was funnier at the beginning, and are wondering when I'm going to stop going on and on about the stupid cops, well then you are feeling exactly same way I did about them throughout the whole movie! Moving on.
The movie is extremely-dare I say it…. “superlong” and drawn out. This is the same problem that has affected other Apatow films such as “Knocked Up” and even “The 40 year old Virgin” (which, if you’ll remember I said I liked.) Let’s just say the number of scenes with the cops (once again the least comical scenes in the movie) could have been trimmed a lot. But I’m pretty sure Seth Rogen had something to do with that editing decision.
“Superbad” would have been an ok little 95 minute (tops) movie that runs way too long at over 110 minutes. So was it a classic? Nah overall it was just meh. The point is I was expecting to at least identify with some of the teen situations but I didn’t, can you believe it, not even one?
Maybe it’s me but I just didn’t get it, maybe I’m not the “targeted” audience per se, or maybe I hung around with a different sort of crowd back in high school and can’t relate, maybe I’m too old (gasp) to know what teenagers today are actually like, maybe I just don't understand teenage boys and how they relate to each other in general. Or maybe, just maybe I’m someone that goes into a comedy movie and expects to be entertained, laugh and have a good time.
Well that certainly didn’t happen here folks and that’s Super-Too-Bad! Yeah, I went there, deal with it!
-It only cost Sony $18M to make, and it has brought in a whopping $31M and counting!
-It was originally going to be called “The Bitter End”. But the writers never really liked that title, so they just went ahead and changed it at the last minute to “Superbad”. Seth Rogen has said “don't look for meaning, it's completely arbitrary."
- The word "f--k" is used 186 times in the movie.
-Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s (McLovin) mother had to be on set during his love scene, since he was under 18 at the time of the shooting.
-As of today 08/30/07, “Superbad” has made $68,616,643! Super Insane!