Following weeks of hype and rave reviews I was expecting Superbad to be something more than just a puerile teenage comedy. The 70’s kitsch opening titles, parodying the I-Pod adverts, was certainly a good starting point but everything after that left me more than just a little disappointed.
The film comes from the team that bought us ‘The 40-Year Old Virgin’ and ‘Knocked Up’ and features three nerdy sexually-frustrated high school students. Seth, Evan and Fogell, keen to impress on their peers just how cool they can be, set about procuring alcohol to impress girls. I’d love to say that the writers have a vastly more intricate script but it really is that one-dimensional.
Seth (Jonah Hill) is one of the least likeable characters with few morals and zero standards. He’s quite prepared to risk death to have sex and believes that getting girls drunk will force them to make errors of judgement allowing him and his friends into their beds. “We could be that mistake!” he exclaims. Evan (Michael Cera), despite being Seth’s best friend, displays a charming quality by trying to impart sensible advice whilst avoiding confrontation. It’s a difficult balance trying to keep his friends happy and impress his beau and he’s constantly battling all sides. Here is where the heart of the film lies but unfortunately the directors have allowed it to be bludgeoned by the others antics. King of the geeks is Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who manages to draw the most laughs as he gets himself a fake ID and ends up taking a wild ride with two bad cops, one of whom is actor/writer Seth Rogen, who are keen to have nothing but a good time with their new buddy.
The constant Hollywood barrage of films featuring ugly men and beautiful women has never been displayed in such poor contrast as here. How we’re expected to believe the pairings is beyond me and immediately throws any credibility out of the window. Having said that, credibility was never likely to be part of this film’s blueprint, with the target audience being of such limited scope.
Superbad is mainly all about substituting profanity for jokes - believe it or not, there are 186 uses of the F-word. It’s crying out for a sequence of humour without any crude content but unfortunately the only respite we get is brief glimpses of Evan, minus Seth, trying to extricate him from difficult situations, and the idiotic cops trying to prove just how stupid they can really be. I’m afraid I have to report that, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, Superbad really is superbad.
Commissioned by Local Secrets online magazine...