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Saturday, November 17, 2018

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Superbad’ more than crass humor – barely


Bawdy jokes are usually good only for a small laugh, but surprisingly enough, Superbad’s delivery of lowbrow humor keeps the laughs consistent throughout.

Structurally speaking, the movie’s time frame is tight and poignant, unlike other teen farces that unfold over a year and reach their apex at prom. Superbad is about one of those nights where two loser best friends finally get a chance to move up the social stratum of their high school. And, of course, each of them has the chance to woo the girl of their dreams they’ve been pining over the past years.

But this night is extremely exaggerated, a feat only possible in a Hollywood movie: being chased by the cops, getting run over twice and having to sing your way out of a dangerous situation.

The boisterous and extremely coarse Seth (Jonah Hill) and soft-spoken Evan (Michael Cera) plan to make their last days in high school the best, seeing as both will be going their separate ways once college starts. Opportunity arrives when Seth, Evan and their four-eyed acquaintance Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are invited to a graduation party where they’re sure to be lucky, in more ways than one. Finally, they have a chance to stop hanging out in their basement, siphoning beer from their parents and perusing the Internet for ridiculous pornographic Web sites.

"You know how when girls sleep with guys, they always say it was an accident?" a hopeful Seth asks Evan. "We could be that accident!"

But there’s a certain requisite that must be met before going to the party: purchasing booze, a sort of Lord of the Rings-type journey that involves inept cops and false identities.

Evan and Sean convince Fogell to purchase the alcohol for the party, seeing as he is the only one with a fake ID. Flaws emerge in the plan when Fogell’s ID shows him as a 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor named McLovin -†one name, like Sting.

Cera and Hill fill their roles wonderfully, delivering their lines with intent and conviction. Penis and vagina jokes are only funny when delivered by a hopeful pervert. Fans will recognize Cera as George Michael Bluth from Arrested Development. And don’t fret, the same George Michael awkwardness and meekness is present in Superbad. Yet the spotlight is constantly usurped by third-wheel Mintz-Plasse.

After a botched attempt at purchasing liquor, Superbad is sliced into two parallel, yet occasionally intertwining, plot lines: Seth’s and Evan’s journey to get to the party while still bringing alcohol; McLovin going on a wild journey with Officer Slater (Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader) and Officer Michaels (Seth Rogen).

While Seth and Evan’s jokes usually involve sex, girls or genitals, McLovin’s humor comes neatly packaged with clumsy cops. At one time, Officer Michaels goes on a comedic gem of a tangent about how guns and penii have similar qualities for men.

It is here where Superbad compares to other teen movies: The geeks trying to score. But the presentation -†writing, directing and acting -†takes a typical teenage quest into something noteworthy. Superbad is set apart from the American Pie franchise – it’s on a different level. Unlike American Pie, where everyone does end up losing their virginity on prom night, Superbad ends on a sweet, soulful note: Evan and Seth are more anxious about losing each other after high school than getting laid.

The anti-climactic ending rounds out the movie perfectly, flushing out the emotional subtext as both Seth and Evan literally take their separate ways at the mall. Granted, this movie is a hilarious ode to the male sex organ and the schemes teenage boys go through because of it, but it also shows the paradoxical horror and wonder of being a teenage boy.


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