Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 1/7/08 w/ Additional Edits & Revisions
Directed by Greg Mottola and written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Superbad tells the story of two high school boys whose days of high school is about to finish. Deciding to go out in style where they were invited to a party, one of their friends is asked to supply alcohol where after a robbery gone bad, the boy gets the attention of two inept cops who use him to relive their youth. With Judd Apatow as a producer, the film is a raunchier film than Apatow's other material as his cohorts Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg recount the days of their youth. Starring Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Stone, Martha MacIsaac, Bill Hader, and Seth Rogen. Superbad is a hilarious and boisterous comedy from Greg Mottola.
It's near the end of the school year as Evan (Michael Cera) and Seth (Jonah Hill) are hoping to score some chicks and such as they're both set to separate with Evan going to Dartmouth in the fall. Joining Evan to Dartmouth is their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who also hopes to join in a graduation party. When Seth hears that Jules (Emma Stone) is having a party, she asks if he can supply the beer. Seth is excited as he hopes to use the beer to score with Jules while Evan decides to go as after he managed to convince a girl he likes named Becca (Martha MacIsaac) if she wants to go. She says yes and asks him if he could bring a special vodka. Though Evan and Seth don’t have a Fake ID, Fogell manages to score one under the alias, McLovin'.
McLovin' tries to score some beer with a Fake ID only to be assaulted by a robber. With Evan and Seth looking on outside, they're convinced that Fogell is in trouble with the cops as Seth gets hit by a car as the driver named Francis (Joe Lo Truglio) tries to apologize by taking them to a party. Fogell meanwhile, is interrogated by two cops named Slater (Bill Hader) and Michaels (Seth Rogen) as they take McLovin' to some wild shenanigans where he becomes accepted. Seth and Evan meanwhile, arrive at Francis' party where he gets beat up by its host Mark (Kevin Corrigan) while things get crazy when Evan is forced to sing to some drunken guys while Seth has an encounter with Mark’s girlfriend (Carla Gallo) that gets him in trouble. Seth and Evan leave with two detergent containers worth of booze yet the tension between the two boys start to rise over Evan's departure to Dartmouth.
After Fogell's night out with Slater and Michaels, things get tense when an encounter with Seth and Evan lead to some trouble as the three boys finally managed to escape the cops with Fogell carrying the booze he managed to score at the liquor store hours earlier. After arriving to Jules' party, everything becomes great only until Evan and Seth realize their own flaws while McLovin' lives up to his name with some surprising help.
While the film is based on the teenage lives of both its writers and executive producers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, it does have something relevant to men, teens and adults, who remember their high school lives. The film's plot is simple, two boys wanting to party, get laid, get drunk, and have a whole lot of fun. Yet, there's more to this story as Goldberg and Rogen focus on the film's core story about these two young men and their long-standing friendship that is about to end. That plot device also leads to a conflict between the two boys as the more abrasive Seth is angry at the very sensitive Evan over this departure and as the film develops, secrets are unveiled and they're not really the same people in the beginning of the film.
One subplot that balances the film's study of teenage friendship is the story that involves Fogell and the two cops he hang around, who are trying to relive their own youths after feeling disappointed by in the world of adulthood. Goldberg and Rogen are definitely smart enough to create stories that men can relate to while for women, it gives them an ideas of what guys are and even though it's from the perspective of guys, not men. Women might relate to their own youths of young woman who probably also want to get drunk and party as well. The humor overall is very raunchy, far more raunchier than the films that Judd Apatow directed due to its coarse dialogue that is definitely shocking to some audiences. Yet, teenagers do talk like that, they think about sex, they watch sex, that's what being a teenager is.
Director Greg Mottola understands that as well as his direction is solid throughout. From its opening credits that is in the style of 1970s cinema, the film has a 70s feel of sorts with its funk-drenched music, ode to porno films, and hilarious situations. Yet, there's also a modern feel that plays to the film's humor. A lot of it has a spontaneous feel with the action being a bit unexpected and such. Still, Mottola lets the actors act in a relaxed approach as he gives them a moment from the comedy yet still manage to let them be funny. Even through wild antics as the film definitely brings laugh after laugh after laugh. Overall, Mottola's direction is superb.
Cinematographer Russ T. Alsobrook does some fine work with the film's look, notably the exterior nighttime sequences that are awash with sepia-color tones and yellow lights along with the film's interior scenes for the parties. Editor William Kerr does some nice work for the film's editing as it manages to have a nice, leisurely pace to help with the film's humor along with some great transitional cuts. Production designer Chris L. Spellman & art director Gerald Sullivan do excellent work on the look of the parties including the home of Mark in all of its debauchery while costume designer Debra McGuire does fine work in the look of the clothes that looks very contemporary. Sound editor George H. Anderson is also good with the film’s sound, notably the use of sirens, car squeals, and such to convey the action. The drawings of Seth's penis doodles are wonderfully drawn by Evan Goldberg's brother David.
The score of Lyle Workman is excellent with its homage to 70s funk that is very bouncy courtesy of legendary Parliament-Funkadelic members Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell in their respective playing of the bass and keyboards. The rest of the soundtrack is filled with loads of 70s funk and soul music that includes KC & the Sunshine Band, the Four Tops, The Bar-Kays, Guess Who, Rick James, and other assorted cuts from Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes, Nugent by himself, the Rapture, Motorhead, and Van Halen. It's a killer soundtrack that is fun to listen to.
The cast is overall brilliant feature appearances from David Krumholtz and Martin Starr as party guys, Erica Vittina Phillips as the liquor store cashier, Carla Gallo as Mark's girlfriend, and Seth Rogen's father Mark as a man chasing Seth and Evan with a bat. Brooke Dillman is funny as the home economics teacher while Clement Blake is great as a drunken wino, Matthew Bass as a star of a porno Seth, Evan, and Fogell watch with cameos from porno actresses Aurora Snow and Jenna Haze. Roger Iwami as Evan's classmate Miroki, Laura Seay as Jules' friend Shirley, Marcella Lentz-Pope as Becca's friend Gabby, Joe Nunez as a liquor store clerk, and Aviva Farber as Fogell's crush Nicola.
Joe Lo Truglio of The State fame is funny as the creepy Francis, a driver who hits Seth while trying to get them to a party while Kevin Corrigan plays Francis' former friend Mark with a lot of attitude as a dude who doesn't like to be messed with. Stacy Edwards, known to indie fans as the deaf woman in In the Company of Men, is funny as Evan's mother whom Seth seems to have a crush on her because of her cleavage. Emma Stone is amazing as Jules, the girl Seth has a crush on her as she reveals that though she likes to party, she isn't really a wild person. Martha MacIsaac meanwhile, is also good as Becca, the girl Evan likes as she hopes to win him over but in a way that forces Evan to rethink things. Bill Hader and Seth Rogen are hilarious as the two cops Slater and Michaels as two inept men who are trying to relive their youth and wild ways through Fogell.
Jonah Hill is very funny as the boisterous, profane Seth as his performance is really the funniest of the film with the excessive use of the word "fuck" while often saying obscene things about sex and body parts. Hill's performance is definitely a highlight as he is the wildest character of the entire film. Michael Cera is great as the more sensitive Evan, the young man who wants to do things right while trying to come to terms about the end of his friendship with Seth. Cera's performance is the perfect counterpoint to Hill's more abrasive performance as the two have great chemistry that it's in the tradition of most comedy duos. The film's best performance and scene-stealer is newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fogell aka McLovin'. Mintz-Plasse's performance is truly phenomenal as this nerdy, skinny kid who tries to act like the coolest kid in the world yet unwittingly gets himself into a strange situation. Often the foil for Seth's jokes, he ends up becoming the coolest character of the film as he tries to act like a total gangsta while managing to be one of the greatest guys ever on film.
Superbad is a remarkable film from Greg Mottola. Armed with a great that includes Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Stone, Bill Hader, and Seth Rogen. It's a film that manages to explore the exuberance and uncertainty of youth while telling it in such a raunchy and uncompromising way. In the end, Superbad is a fun and exciting film from Greg Mottola.
© thevoid99 2015