“I recently wrote that I could happily do without any more movies devoted to the breaking of the male bond,” David Denby writes in his 8.20 New Yorker review of Superbad. “Yet here’s an uproarious and touching picture on that theme [that] combines desperately filthy talk with the most tender, even delicate, emotion. [It] succeeds as a teen’s wild fantasy of a night in which everything goes wrong, revised by an adult’s melancholy sense that nothing was ever meant to go right.
“Superbad is a suburban mock-epic. Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), with the help of their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), agree to buy the booze for a party that the coolest girls in their class are throwing. The boys are convinced that if they deliver the goods the girls will get so drunk that they’ll make out with guys by mistake. ‘We could be that mistake!’ Seth shouts, hopefully. Getting themselves to the party, however, turns out to be a journey somewhat more difficult than that endured by the Greeks coming home from Troy.
“In spirit, Superbad isn’t so different from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and other rude teen comedies made years ago. But the tone of Superbad, like that of other recent teen movies, is so profane and anatomical that it would shock Sean Penn‘s loutish Spicoli.
“The boys in Superbad are all internet-porn addicts. Their talk is not just dirty but bizarrely detailed — spangled with fantasy, odd practices, and curious devices. They know more about sex than boys did a couple of decades ago, but they’re frightened by what they know — the expectation of performance is so much more explicit. For them, the only mystery is flesh itself, and the presence of a willing girl sends them into anguished fits of dithering.”