dir: Greg Mottola
[img_assist|nid=740|title=How do I keep getting work?|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=375]
I can’t really explain the 70s retro chic aesthetic that permeates this flick, from the music to the titles. It’s set contemporarily, the main characters Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are only supposed to be around 17-18. But, you know, whatever floats Judd Apatow’s boat.

Apatow, who previously struggled as a comedian, writer and creator of TV series that were good but were canned (a la Freaks and Geeks), who then became huge with the success of his comedies 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, has become this media juggernaut producing comedies that have his imprimatur upon them without having to bother directing them. He’s like Spielberg now, except without the cheese or the virgin blood drinking.

Though they’re pretty lunatic, his flicks are filling this niche that used to be ably catered for in the 80s, but which seems to have fallen by the wayside more recently. It would be easy to pigeonhole Apatow’s lewd and crude movies with stuff of the ilk of American Pie and other mindless fare. It would probably be appropriate, too. I mean, let’s not get too pretentious here: his flicks might be reasonably amusing, but it’s not because of any genius level scripts. He does manage to blend dramatic, character and comedic elements, though, which is why there a cut above.

Still, look at Superbad, and you know it’s based on really simple stuff: teenage boys trying to get some alcohol in order to get to a party and get laid before they go to college. In other words, teenage boys talking and thinking about and pursuing sex. What a novel and groundbreaking premise! I’d never have thought there was a market for that.

Thing is, though, the flick is really aimed at and marketed to adults who remember flicks like Porky’s and the endless stream of 80s flicks about guys trying to lose their virginity. Why else would the soundtrack be laden with Ted Nugent and Rick James? Are they big on the iPods of today’s youngsters?

This is a different age, as well. The coyness of the past, the sheer overwhelming thrill that a shot of breast or, god forbid, a nipple could provoke is passé now. Even the discussions of sex have to be even further out there, cruder, more explicit, more offensive if it’s ever going to make an impression. And they try their darndest here, I tell you what.

Apparently based on a script that Seth Rogen wrote when he was thirteen, the flick centres around the upcoming high school graduation of two guys who have been lifelong friends. Evan is smart, decent, a nice guy, who is heading for college at Dartmouth. Seth is a chubby, sweaty, perpetually angry guy with a pretty big Jewish afro who is so crude it would offend Krusty the Clown himself. Jonah Hill has played this same character dozens of times, so he’s got it down pat. Some might, might, I say, find him funny and entertaining. I generally find his persona painful.

All the same, Seth and Evan have a decent dynamic going, insofar as Evan balances out Seth’s super-offensiveness and immaturity with a smattering of his balance and intelligence. The nub of discontent throughout the flick, the real impetus to the story apart from the pursuit of sex, is that Seth is bitter about not being able to follow Evan to Dartmouth in the fall. Since he comes across as a bit of a fuckwit, we can assume lesser grades and SATs relegated him to a state college instead. His agony at being abandoned by Evan, as he sees it, is palpable, and it pushes him to increasingly absurd extremes.

The man love on display would be familiar to anyone who’s watched any of Kevin Smith’s films especially, but a whole other stack of flicks as well. And I’m not including Brokeback Mountain, although it’s probably relevant. They essentially exist as examinations of the barely sublimated, needy co-dependent relationships that even apparently hetero males can have with each other. The assumption is, and the payoff eventually is supposed to be that the guys reassert the depths of their man love for each other prior to going off into the big wide world and nailing chicks. I mean, integrating their relationship with other relationships with other humans, male, female and whatever else.

Except in Kevin Smith’s films, where the upshot is that you can never love a woman as much as you love the loser who’s been running and ruining your life since you were 10 years old.

But here, Seth and Evan bicker like a pair of jealous lovers even as they spend most of the flick trying to nail some teenage jailbait. Not just general teenage jailbait, but two girls in particular, Becca (Martha MacIssac) and Jules (Emma Stone) seeing this as the last chance they’ll have with these girls forevermore.

To that end, they need to get alcohol for entry to more than Jules’s party party. The majority of the flick’s length is involved in the adventure to get alcohol for this party. To that further end, they need the help of a nerdy doofus called Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who has a fake ID claiming he is 25 and that is name is McLovin.

Don’t worry, it’s even dumber that it sounds. McLovin ends up going off on one adventure with a pair of the most incompetent and corrupt cops seen since the Bad Lieutenant made his big screen debut, whilst Evan and Seth end up at a danger-tinged hardcore party with some serious adult partygoers.

It’s all worthwhile, no matter how generic and small scale, if it’s funny or entertaining, and this flick manages to be much of the time. It’s not outright hilarious or thigh-slapping, but there are a few chuckles that escaped my chest involuntarily. Much of the worth that arises in anything apart from the humour is that Michael Cera, who is as great here as he was in Arrested Development, is engaging and sweet as the lead. As the straight man of the duo, he’s given less dialogue but has more to do with it, and he also has to compete with a ham of Brando proportions in the form of Seth.

His central dilemma is that he does like the girl he’s slated to have sex with that night, but that the nail-at-all-costs mentality Seth exhibits is not one that Evan shares. He likes Becca enough not to just want to get her drunk and have sex with her just for the sake of sex itself. God forbid, he sees her as a person that he actually likes for more than just her vagina and his easy relative access to it.

And he’s a bit scared of having sex with her for the first time, which is perfectly understandable. It’s a potential minefield that, after all, can leave you more than limbless down the track.

The idea that Seth has, of getting the party’s host drunk and nailing her, is revealed to be as simplistic and embarrassing as his previously described fixations on drawing pictures of dicks. That he has some kind of character arc as well is, frankly, unbelievable. I cannot imagine why any woman would have sex with either the character or the actor without expecting ready payment for services rendered.

But then again, he could probably say the same thing about me. I enjoyed the flick, probably more than it deserves. I’m nowhere near special enough to pretend that flicks of this nature and naughty humour in general doesn’t appeal mightily to me. And, for a flick of this nature, Superbad is pretty neat and keen even if it is fairly disposable. It nails exactly what it sets out to nail: that desperate and often terrifying time between leaving school and entering the real world, or leaving adolescence and approaching maturity, and it does it in a far less moronic fashion than most of these flicks usually manage.

So, you know, that’s where things stand. It’s not as bad as the title would imply.

7 times you sometimes wish Jonah Hill would just have something corking that constantly mouthing cake holeof his out of 10.

“I heard she got breast reduction surgery.
- “What? That's like slapping God across the face for giving you a beautiful gift.” – Superbad.