Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Superbadass, Or: How I Learned to Kinda, Sorta, Not Really Stop Worrying and Love the "Vag"

Commander Ethan Segal has returned from his raid on Sony Pictures, and brought back with him a review of the highly anticipated film Superbad. Many Geekanerds died to bring us this information...

Judd Apatow is the comedic genius to beat these days. It seems like everything he touches turns to gold. While only a producer on Superbad, you can see his fingerprints all over the film (maybe not quite enough, in fact, which i will get to later). While the Willferrellowenwilsonvincevaugh
nbenstiller films seem to be on a steady decline ( Anchorman, Wedding Crashers, Blades of Glory, etc. ) Judd Apatow has taken the reigns as the King of Comedy and knocked homers with The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. Now while it is true that Judd Apatow has many business and social connections with Willferrellowenwilsonvincevaughnbenstiller (especially the Willferrell part), i think it is still possible to separate him from the rest of that crew based on his style of comedy and lack of any of those actors in any of his own films. Also, while the improv aspects of the Willferrellowenwilsonvincevaughnbenstiller films have significantly deteriorated (I blame larger budgets) resulting in more stilted jokes, Apatow's films remain fresh and ripe with spontaneity.... and this is exactly how Superbad feels.

Hit the jump for the Good, the Bad, and the Superbad...

THE GOOD If you go to Best Buy this holiday season, you will undoubtedly see in their "Two-for-One" bins a nicely packaged uncut/special-edition/uncensored version of Superbad and Knocked Up. Because Superbad could be the Phantom Menace to Knocked Up's A New Hope (luckily in story arch only). You can just see how Seth (Jonah Hill), Evan (Michael Cera), and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) will turn into the creators of a Flesh of the Stars website once they get a little boobs and booze experience in college. Which is definitely a good thing if you were a fan of Knocked Up (and I was), because they make a great a double-header for both story consistencies and comedic relief.

So yes, i know you've probably read through all this just to find out if the film is funny and it indeed is pretty damn hilarious. I would say that I probably laughed as consistently and heartily as when I saw Knocked Up. The humor, like I mentioned before, is very akin to
Apatow's previous films and relies heavily on witty (and graphic) dialogue. While it does have many slapstick moments, which are necessary for any high school romp, it doesn't abuse them.

THE BAD Although humor is pervasive throughout most of the film, the middle definitely lags both in plot and laughs. This is where Apatow's Midas touch could have come in handy. While Knocked Up was north of the two hour mark, it never felt slow or redundant. Superbad on the other hand suffers from a lack of motion in the beginning of the second hour. You feel like the characters are getting nowhere fast and the jokes aren't helping. Luckily this doesn't last too long, and you almost forget about it by the conclusion of the film. The film also falls victim to some bad editing. A few times when the film is ramping up for a big joke or just when it should be light hearted, you feel a weight in mood that is unnecessary and distracting. Only seeing it once, it was hard for me to discern whether it was the acting, pace, or music... but it was definitely noticeable. This problem mostly occurs in scenes involving the two cops, played by writer Seth Rogen and Bill Hader. For some reason many of their jokes fall flat, which is really astonishing considering Rogen played the hilarious lead in Knocked Up and you'd think he'd write himself some good lines in his own film.

THE SUPERBAD Michael Cera has got to be the hottest comedic commodity (that's a mouthful) around today. Between his roles in Arrested Development, Clark and Michael, and even his appearance in a spoof scene from Knocked Up
, Cera seems to be an unstoppable force in awkward and stuttering comic genius. So for those of you worried that his acting style might get stale in any form longer than 22 minutes, fear not, because he is the best part of the movie. His character, Evan, is essentially a potty mouth version of George Michael from Arrested Development. Although he talks about sex as if he were a 12 year old, he is also considerate and mature enough to pack condoms and lube. Cera might be the most humorous, but he is almost matched by his pudgy best friend Seth, Jonah Hill. Together they make a comedic duo as memorable as Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau in Swingers. And like Vaugh/Favreau, their humorous conversations feel genuine and unrehearsed. I wouldn't be surprised if they really were best friends in real life (although i believe there is a six year age gap). If Hill were given a little more screen time he probably would have the most laughs, which is saying a lot. Finally, Fogell, the nerdiest of the three geek friends, has many memorable lines himself, although his character definitely can't carry the movie the way Cera and Hill can. He is the comic relief third wheel who ends up falling slightly short of the Cera/Hill comic mantle. He still is superbad and plays the punching bag for many of the films funniest jokes.

If I had to give the movie a rating between 1 and 5 stars, I would give it a 4. I feel like it could have possibly gotten a 5 if Apatow had actually directed it.

P.S. Make sure you stay and watch the credits... although many films put kind of lame shticks during their credits, Superbad's will definitely bring laughs.... three words.... pop... a .... cock.

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