Striking a balance between raunch and sweetness is a tall order for any film, but the Judd Apatow-produced Superbad manages to serve up both in equal and satisfying portions without undercutting a consistent stream of laugh-out-loud performances and gags.
Michael Cera (the sublime George Michael Bluth from Arrested Development) and unstoppable scene-stealer Jonah Hill (Apatow's Knocked Up) are lifelong pals who attempt to make up for years of obscurity by getting into one blow-out party before parting ways for college. An opportunity presents itself in the form of Hill's crush, the lovely Jules (Emma Stone), who wants the boys to bring liquor to her shindig. What follows is a combination road adventure and coming of age story as Cera and Hill tackle crazed party goers, a pair of overeager cops (played by co-scripter and producer Seth Rogen and Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader), and the hard truth about girls and their own emotional bond.
The humour is crass and occasionally gross but never mean-spirited, and Cera and Hill offer believable performances as guys wholly unaware of their own potential, yet ready to risk humiliation in order to find out. They're well supported by a cast of Apatow regulars, including Kevin Corrigan, Martin Starr, David Krumholtz, and Carla Gallo (and Stone and Martha MacIsaac are terrific as their love interests), but the film is completely shoplifted by newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse as their uber-nerdy pal Fogell, whose fake ID handle is among the film's funniest gags. Classic funk fans should also keep an ear out for the score by Lyle Workman, which features such James Brown and P-Funk veterans as Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, and Clyde Stubblefield. --Paul Gaita
Produced by Judd Apatow and co-written by Seth Rogen--both of THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP fame--SUPERBAD is the story of two horny teenage geeks looking to lose their virginity before college. Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are hoping to end high school on a high note, and when one of their crushes (Emma Stone) invites them to a graduation party, the boys are ecstatic. That is, until they become responsible for supplying the party with alcohol. They hurriedly concoct a scheme to use their friend Fogell's (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) horrendously fake ID, but trouble soon arises when Fogell becomes the victim of a liquor store robbery. The cops (Rogen and Bill Hader) show up, and the evening quickly disintegrates into a hilarious mess of misunderstandings, sing-alongs, and beer mixed with laundry detergent.Hill is a riot as the wild-haired and foul-mouthed Seth, and Mintz-Plasse is great fun as the uber-geek Fogell. But Michael Cera (formerly of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) steals the show as the sensitive and level-headed Evan. His oddball line delivery and excellent comic timing make for some of the most bizarre but best moments of the film. Yet, despite gross-out jokes, SUPERBAD somehow manages to fly far above frat-boy, AMERICAN PIE-style humour. This is partly due to the comedic skill of the actors, but also because the characters--silly and absurd though they can be--are so well-written. Watching these bungling outcasts is a vivid reminder of the horrific lows and supreme highs of high school life, and their antics rather poignantly capture how age 18 can indeed be super bad, but also super good.