Seth: You know when you hear girls say 'Ah man, I was so shit-faced last night, I shouldn't have fucked that guy?' We could be that mistake!
Superbad (2007) is a semi-autobiographical film written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, began when they were both 13 and refined over and over again. It is about their high school years, which, in the movie at least, includes a quest for their first sexual encounter; the plump and curly-haired Jonah Hill plays Seth and tall lanky Michael Cera plays Evan. This movie is the third in a series of View Askew-esque films reusing the same producers, writers, directors, and actors, succeeding The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) and Knocked Up (2007) and followed by Drillbit Taylor (2008) and Pineapple Express (2008)*. Indeed, Hill, as well as Rogen, are in both of the previous two.
Mild spoilers lay ahead, which, given the relatively simple nature of the plot, I don't think are a big deal, and I don't give away the ending. But still, spoilers there are.
The plot is centered around a party that one of their female classmates - Jules (Emma Stone) - is throwing while her parents are out of town. Evan and Seth decide that this is an ideal opportunity to lose their virginity and their master plan is to get a girl drunk enough to do that for them. Evan is pining after a girl attending the party - Becca (Martha MacIsaac) - and Seth (who hates Becca for an initially mysterious reason) is pining after Jules, the party's hostess. There are several catches here, though. One, they're both geeks. Two, they promise to bring booze - which of course had something to do with them being invited. Third, they are under 21 years old, and, despite the setting and clothing (and Seth's hairstyle) sometimes suggesting they are in the 1980's, the ubiquitous use of cellular phones makes it definitely set in present day, where minors purchasing alcohol is certainly illegal.
And fourth, and perhaps most importantly, the only way they can get the booze is by reluctantly inviting their third wheel, a guy so geeky he's in a subclass of geek that is often even too geeky for Evan and Seth. This guy is Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), but you will forget the character's real name later and need to look it up on IMDB.com (as I just did) because after he gets his fake ID - the reason Seth and Evan need him - he is known throughout the rest of the movie - and the American film-going audience - as McLovin.
Indeed, this initially unremarkable but hilarious plot turn, whereupon Seth pops a vein when he sees Fogell's ridiculous ID - a Hawaii state driver's license with only one name ("McLovin") - sparked a national sensation. "I am McLovin" tee shirts began popping up for sale on the internet (remember "Vote for Pedro", anyone?). But use this ID they must to deliver the promised alcohol, which is more dire for Evan because he promised Becca a specific beverage, one of her favorites.
But a disaster happens while trying to purchase the alcohol at a local liquor store - a holdup where McLovin is knocked in the head - leads to Seth and Evan leaving him behind, convinced the cop cars arrive at the store to arrest him for trying to illegally purchase the spirits they'd promised their potential mates. This leads to a hilarious sequence of events where McLovin spends the evening riding around in a squad car with two bumbling and inexperienced cops, Officer Michaels (played by Seth Rogen - who again, as in the first two films, fulfills multiple roles) and Officer Slater (Bill Hader). Fogell's subsequent outrageous adventures in the movie actually upstage what Evan and Seth - the main characters - are doing, which is mostly spending most of the night just trying to get to the party, and somehow beforehand get the alcohol they'd promised. But that's OK, because leaving the zany belly-laugh comedy to McLovin & Co. serves as a great distraction, allowing Seth and Evan's night to be slightly more realistic, and heartfelt, including an emotional scene where Seth and Evan argue and reveal their true feelings about each other (no, not those kinds of feelings).
I will reveal, though, that they all do eventually make it to the party, but what exactly happens there I will not.
Overall, like Virgin and Knocked Up before them, it's filled with raunchy humor and f-bomb-laden salty dialogue (a tad too much I'd argue). There's actually a scene where Seth, while finally explaining why he hates Becca, reveals a strange habit of his to Evan, which becomes a dirty running joke that would cause Jerry Fallwell to turn over in his grave and could even make Dr. Dirty blush. It is definitely a film that does what it wants, crosses almost all the lines you might think of, but again, like the previous two movies in the series, somehow has an underlining sweetness to it, especially considering the nature of Evan and Seth's friendship, about as loving as a friendship between two guys can get while staying straight.
And, actually, contradicting my opening paragraph, this is really what the film is about. Not sex. Not booze. Not parties. Not McLovin and his cop friends using their guns to shoot up the squad car just for laughs. It's about a close and virtually indestructible friendship between two high school buddies, a friendship the film does a very nice, realistic job of portraying.
Overall, I give it 3 out of 4 stars. And comparing it to other comedies, 3.5 out of 4 stars.
The moral quandary if this film is that Evan and Seth's master plan is to get a girl drunk to have sex with her, which one could actually consider a form of rape, could mean that the two are possibly headed towards committing a premeditated felony. However, I feel that these two are good guys with good hearts and that they are too young and dumb to be aware that what they're planning could be a crime. I hope I'm not giving too much away by saying this, but at the end of the day, no rape takes place in this movie. But it is just a movie, and considering how things turn out, I don't think it encourages or condones this method of getting laid.
Release Date: August 17, 2007
Directed By: Greg Mottola
Written By: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Produced By: Judd Apatow, Evan Goldberg, Shauna Robertson, Seth Rogen, Apatow Productions
Running Time: 113 minutes
Running Time (Unrated Cut): 118 minutes
Distributed By: Columbia Pictures
Starring: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Chris Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen
* Trailers for 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall would have you believe that it belongs to this series of films, but its claim that "From the same guys who brought you The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up" is misleading; this movie may have Jonah Hill (a little of him), Paul Rudd, and Bill Hader in the cast, but it does not have the writers and/or directors of the previous films (Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and Steve Korell). Apatow does get producer credit, though.
Sources: imdb.com, Wikipedia