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SUPERBAD

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader
Director: Greg Mottola
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Sony
Features: See Review
Length: 118 Minutes
Release Date: December 4, 2007

“You changed your name to McLovin?”

“Yeah.”

“McLovin? What kind of a stupid name is that, Fogell? What, are you trying to be, an Irish R & B singer?"

Film ***1/2

Hot Fuzz, Hot Rod and Superbad; yep, 2007 was a most great year for comedy.

Thanks to the likes of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, the raunchy comedy has become more popular than ever, not to mention a respectable art form. Now the very writers and producers of those two films have taken the genre to its most possible extreme with Superbad. In terms of high school sex comedies, this movie might just be the funniest one on record!

The very creation of the film came from no less than the high school memories of screenwriters Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. With the help of producer Judd Apatow, who wrote and directed Rogen in both The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, Rogen’s high school exploits soon became a cinematic reality. The result is an overly offensive, near masterpiece that makes you even forget that Porky’s and American Pie even existed.

The movie follows the last day of high school for seniors and longtime friends Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera). They are about to graduate and head off to different colleges, and Seth thinks it is the ideal time for both of them to get laid. According to him, sex prior to college is necessary because that is the last place where you want to be inexperienced.

Evan, however, isn’t so much concerned with the prospect of getting laid as he is expressing his true feelings for classmate Becca (Martha MacIsaac). Of course, Seth advises him to just go all the way with her at the huge upcoming graduation party. Seth, meanwhile, thinks he actually has a shot with Jules (Emma Stone), who is way out of his league.

Seth and Evan are the epitome of high school outcasts/nerds, but they are nothing compared to their sidekick, Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Seth has been asked to supply alcohol at the party, and Fogell knows the key to getting it. He simply gets a fake id, issuing him one name and one name only, McLovin. And I’m the first to say that, no matter how over killed that name was even before the movie actually came out, it’s still one of the best movie names ever, or names in general.

Of course, getting the liquor is going to be the most challenging aspect of the day, other than the possibility of any of the three guys getting any action. McLovin proceeds with his plan to get the booze, only to be knocked out by a store robber. That leads to the introduction of Officers Michaels (Rogen) and Slater (Bill Hader), two phenomenally inept cops who make the Sanford police in Hot Fuzz seem more efficient.

And once Seth and Evan frantically attempt to meet up with their potential drunken female dates, and McLovin is no less than patrolling the streets with Michaels and Slater, Superbad takes off running with a endless array of effortless laughs. Most of the highlights are far too disgusting to put into words, including fluid gag I never thought would end up in a single movie. So it’s best I just leave all the nasty hilarity in the film for you to discover.

As widely praised and very funny as both Knocked Up and Virgin were, Superbad blows them both out of the water in terms of the level of non-stop hilarity and envelope-pushing sight gags. The movie also succeeds better than those other two films in the sentimental area, which was the main element that caused them to go on longer than necessary, especially Knocked Up. Superbad clocks in at right under two hours and has just the right level of heart, which doesn’t let it get in the way of the extreme comedy.

The cast is one of the best I’ve seen in any recent comedy. I will, however, start off by saying that Jonah Hill over-shouting nearly every over the top phrase he utters does grow somewhat tiresome after a while. Truth be told, it’s the only thing keeping the movie from being a full four star movie. Hill can be deadly funny and his one scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin is definitive proof.

But Michael Cera, aka George Michael on Arrested Development, delivers so many heart-stopping laughs as the geeky, frequently awkward Evan. It helps to be a fan of AD to laugh at Cera’s performance, which is basically an R-rated version of George Michael. However, Cera incorporates so many priceless and unique dialogue deliveries that you can help but giggle at the simplest things he says. And Cera produces the single biggest laugh I’ve had all year when he’s forced by a group of drug addicts to sing a song. His choice; “These Eyes” by The Guess Who. It’s one of those rare scenes that make you laugh just by thinking about it.

And Seth Rogen and Bill Hader have incredible scene stealing moments as the bumbling cops. This is without question the first movie where a cop purposefully turns off his radio during a request for backup (PRICELESS!). And things get so out of hand later, that the two cops and McLovin, all drunk, are target shooting in the streets, hear a police siren, and simultaneously yell, “THE COPS!”

The best way to sum up Superbad is very much a treasured comedy classic for years to come. There hasn’t been a high school sex comedy this equally hilarious, smart and sweet. And I think it’s more than likely that there won’t be a perfect such comedy like it anytime soon. Not only one of the funniest movies of the year, but of the decade thus far!

Video ****

The anamorphic presentation from Sony is consistently crisp, bright, and full of lively detail throughout. No image flaws detected at any point. The movie takes place during one day, with the first half at daytime and the second half at nighttime and in both settings the picture is truly flawless. A top-notch looking disc all the way!

Audio ***1/2

For a mostly dialogue driven comedy, the 5.1 mix does manage to bring quite a lot to the table. The music on the soundtrack, ranging from funky soul to hard rock, sounds nothing short of fantastic. The many sequences of fast paced physical comedy pan out completely well and the dialogue delivery is terrifically heard!

Features ****

Several editions of the movie are available, but make sure that you pick up this 2-Disc Unrated Extended Edition, because you will be getting much more in terms of exclusive extras.

Disc One features a commentary track with director Greg Mottola, producer Judd Apatow, writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and stars Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and all of whom are in the same setting, I might add! Also features are trailers additional Sony releases including Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox Story, Across the Universe, The Brothers Solomon and more!

Disc Two is endless with extras, including Deleted and Extended Scenes, a Gag Reel, a Line-O-Rama,
the featurettes “Cop Car Confessions” and “The Making of Superbad”, The Original 2002 Table Read and an exclusive First Look at the upcoming Seth Rogen feature, Pineapple Express.

And available exclusively on this 2-Disc release is Cast Audition Footage, a Press Junket Meltdown, On-Set Diaries and the featurettes “The Music of Superbad” and the absolutely priceless “Everyone Hates Michael Cera - The Unfortunate True Story”, which has to be seen to be believed!

Summary:

Comedies don’t get any bigger, badder or hilarious than Superbad. One of the funniest movies in recent memory has become one of the must-own DVD releases of 2007 in the form of the 2-Disc Unrated Extended Edition. Prepare to have your funny bone worked overtime!

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