Superbad may not be as substandard as its title suggests, but it isn't exactly a drunkenly good time. "Superoverrated" would be more appropriate. Now, before everyone leaps to the defensive fence and starts abolishing my opinion, comedy is subjective. Superbad, in all its hormonal teen angst, will more than likely appeal to its target demographic of heterosexual males. That's not to say no one else can enjoy it, that's just the primary audience. I don't fit into that classification, which is why for most of the runtime, I found myself rarely relating to these buffoons. Two high school seniors are drifting apart as they continue on with their education and lives, to which they plan to have one booze-soaked night of boyish behaviour so that they can retain their friendship.
Sex, drugs and alcohol. The three definitive elements found in most male-orientated teen comedies that have seen a popular rise ever since a certain pie got penetrated ('American Pie' if you didn't know...). However, what makes this one slightly more approachable is the cleverly executed arc that develops from this tricky friendship. When one friend doesn't get into further education, but the other friend does, it is sure to cause a rift. Seth and Evan present that scenario with a hint of humanism. When they're not attempting to steal alcohol or pressuring each other to illegally purchase liqueur, their bond can be rather expressive.
Then incomes Fogell "McLovin" with his ridiculously amateur fake ID, to which the narrative seemingly splits apart and loses focus. A sub-plot involving two police officers (probably the funnier storyline...) and showing "McLovin" that cops can be fun, boisterously takes over the main plot. The spiky friendship between Seth and Evan dissipates and the supposedly infamous Rogen/Goldberg script nosedives into "comedy". As usual, I counted the amount of times I laughed, sniggered or smiled at the onscreen hilarity. You ready? Twice. Mostly from Hader's performance. But again, I have to reiterate, comedy is subjective and this type of hilarity doesn't work for me.
What probably helped in my resistance to Superbad was the inclusion of Jonah Hill, an actor that I've never admired or even wanted to watch. As per usual, shouting every line of profanity in a monotonous tone and generally having a face that looks like a slapped bottom. Every time he was on screen, his character just made me sweat. No idea why, but I was uncomfortable with Seth as a character. The hyperbolic yearning for the female anatomy is never funny and is the complete opposite to relatable. Cera doesn't get off lightly either with his usual awkward persona. The constant barrage of camera shots that explicitly stares at female breasts is borderline objectification. Puberty is a wonderful thing, but so is subtlety. Mottola may have failed to grasp that on the odd occasion. And do not even get me started on Mintz-Plasse, otherwise we will be here all day.
The most effective aspect to this comedy, aside from the infrequent witty lines of dialogue that everyone loves to quote, would be the final fifteen minutes. A surprisingly poetic representation of overcoming separation anxiety and that sudden click into adulthood. Mall escalators, you just saved Superbad from being, well, super bad.
For the most part, when it's not focussing of sex jokes, the story is well formed and delivers some genuine moments of school life. But unfortunately it contains three lead actors who I generally dislike, mostly non-relatable scenarios and comedy that mostly misses for me. So whilst it didn't work for me personally, I can appreciate it is a well-made film that others have embraced. Phew, this review felt like presenting a defence case!