Every few years a brand new teen coming of age (sex, drugs, and/or drinking) comedy comes along. They range from the true classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High to the far less amusing Can't Hardly Wait. The recently released to DVD Superbad happily falls far closer to the former than the latter.
Directed by Greg Mottola (The Daytrippers) and produced by Judd Apatow and his merry band of misfits (the folks that brought you Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin), the story follows Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) as they embark on a quest for liquor. By obtaining the liquor they will gain admittance to a party that has the potential to allow them to both lose their virginity before parting ways and heading off to college.
Seth and Evan, along with their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), spend the vast majority of the movie getting into and out of trouble as they try to obtain liquor. Along the way they encounter a menagerie of loons, including two police officers played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader. The officers end up traveling around with Fogell, who is going under the name “McLovin” as that's what his fake ID reads, and prove that being an officer of the law can be fun (provided you wreck your police car and drink on the job).
The plot is neither new nor different from the coming of age stories in dozens of other movies. However, the film is still incredibly funny. The script itself, while presenting few new situations, finds humor in the offbeat reactions of the characters. Cera, Hill, and everyone else are more than game to deliver the most absurd, inane lines with a straight face (I will refrain from giving you an example as the film's R rating exists for the abundance of profanity that issues from the characters). The entire cast is out to milk each situation for every possible bit of comedy, and they often succeed.
The true standout in the film is Jonah Hill's Seth, who manages to be both desperate, charming, and more than a little sad at the same time. In fact, the film does a wonderful job of making both Seth and Evan incredibly funny without losing their basic sense of humanity. The characters certainly do things that no one in their right mind would contemplate, but they manage to do it without ever losing the sense that they are real people. It's a difficult feat for a comedy to pull off, but it's one place where Superbad excels.
The DVD is currently available as a two-disc set. It comes with several different behind the scenes looks at the movie, from table reads to casting sessions and on-set diaries. There are also extended and deleted scenes, a look at the music in the movie, a gag reel, and a look at the filming of the dancing in the opening credits (among other things). One of the funniest special features included is a mockumentary “Everyone Hates Michael Cera – The Unfortunate True Story” which features Cera being obnoxious and everyone complaining about him.
Full of cursing, lewdness, and big laughs, Superbad may not break new ground but certainly has a good time covering the old. The cast is hysterical, the jokes funny, and the sense of fun that everyone had on set shines through. The non-stop use of four-letter words may put some people off, but those individuals are not the intended audience anyway.