It’s not a rumor: Superbad is a bolt out of the blue — the funniest, most cleverly written youth comedy in I-don’t-know- how-many-years. It’s going to be a huge money machine when it opens on 8.17. Produced by Judd Apatow and co-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, it’s a better teen-sex film — funnier, wilder, more truthful even– than The 40 Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up are in their respective realms.
(l. to r.) Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera
It also marks the return of director Greg Mottola, who’s been working steadily on television but languishing in movie jail since the success d’estime of The Daytrippers eleven years ago.
Superbad also heralds the arrival of the funniest comic trio since the post-Duck Soup Marx Brothers — Jonah Hill (the sociopathic big-mouthed fat guy), Michael Cera (the bright, quiet, thoughtful guy) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (the dweeby, pale-faced nerd). I’m serious — these guys are the total dynamo right now. You should have heard the crowd laughing last night at the Arclight. The oil was blowing out of the ground and splattering everyone in sight.
If I were reading this and not writing it, I’d wonder fight away if it’s on the level of Risky Business, the Citizen Kane/Ben-Hur of teen-sex comedies. The answer is that it sometimes exceeds Risky Business by way of witty dialogue, rich characters and inventive comedy, but it fucks up somewhat by giving a lot of screen time to a couple of self-destructive, moron-level doofus cops (played by Rogen and Bill Hader) who aren’t the least bit believable. The idea was to forget believability, in fact. The filmmakers said screw it, who cares?, let’s just make it funny, etc.
Imagine if Joe Pantoliano‘s character in Risky Business (i.e., Guido, the “killer pimp”) turned up dressed as Clarabelle the Clown and pissing out of his ear and honking a horn. Rogen and Hader are so beyond-the-pale that they take the movie off the rails two or three times, and it’s a shame..
If it hadn’t been for this mistake, Superbad would be a major contender right now for the distinction of being the funniest tits-and-zits comedy ever made. As it is, it’s a frequently funny, now and then genius-level farce that’s “not quite Ivy League.” But when it’s working, it’s over the moon.