The names Judd Apatow, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen have become synonymous with an original brand of youthful, albeit raunchy comedy-romps involving a recognizable call sheet of the latest Hollywood ‘in’ crowd of actors, produces and filmmakers.  When it comes to awkward, hormonal adolescence, Apatow and his team of merry jokesters make the mundane funny and unusually touching while towing a narrow line between humor and darn right nasty.

Superbad (2007) is more than a film composed of d**ck jokes, as it has so lovingly been described in the reviewer-o-sphere.  What it is first and foremost is funny – funny like you want funny, where you immediately press pause and call your friends and conduct a cell-phone-on-speaker-phone movie moment to share the shenanigans.  Whereas a great many have felt obligated to berate the film for overt sexuality, I for one am less inclined to be offended – perhaps it is because I’m too busy laughing.

The set-up is simple enough; two socially inept best buddies, Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) embark on a mission to lose their virginity before leaving High school but in the process discover that without help, they’re going to have a harder time than they planned for.  What elevates this film beyond senior-prom merriment at the cost of High School indignity and banal toilet humor is a combination of the talent actors and the laugh out loud funny script by Rogen and Goldberg.  It boils down to whether or not you’re easily offended and if you’re in that section of the movie rental place, or on-line, you must know what you’re in for.  I mean the little room or window off to one side labeled, Adult doesn’t mean primetime T & A for the masses, the warning is evident enough without needing to pursue said nakedness.  These guys are genuinely funny and their screen chemistry is palpable and juvenile for all the right reasons.  This is where Superbad really shines, exceeding all expectations as Michael Cera and Jonah Hill play off one another with near perfect comic timing.  Rarely do you find this kind of spark with young actors, but Hill delivers in your face geek-like bravado to Cera’s awkward pauses and seemingly befuddled hiccups; if you’re not careful you might just find a little of yourself in these characters, a quality that makes it all the much more enjoyable to observe from the safe distance of your sofa.  With plenty of d**k jokes in tow, Superbad is witty and wild, easily superior to the ‘Pie’ franchise or any handful of others.

Ironically for the same reason Apatow and company are praised, for a consistent and a familiar style or brand of humor, they are equally panned as if looking overly simple and being overly simple are the same things.  The reason this film and others are successful is because they make the mundane interesting with characters that are both familiar and slightly askew – like neighbors next door you’ve watched your whole life through those knots in the fence slats.  The Apatow brand might as easily be thought of as relational comedy involving people plucked from the streets outside the theater and in this way we feel at home, prepared for the funny and the funny is served in generous proportions.

Superbad went on to receive high marks from audiences and critics alike, earning an estimated $170 million dollars at the box office.  To say people were tuned in would be an understatement of epic proportions.  And why not, who doesn’t want to laugh like no one else is in the room from humor that resonates as if drawn from our own collective silliness.


About rorydean

Rory Dean is a multi-medium artist, writer and new media strategist with a background as a creative consultant and technology liaison in the San Francisco Bay Area. His broad experiences and specialties include print-to-web publicity, promotions and design marketing using traditional and social media networks. As a motion pictures and television professional, his short films, productions and commercials have screened to domestic and international audiences. His connections to a diverse client base include artists, entertainers, corporations, non-profits and everyday people.. Dean is co-owner and founder of Dissave Pictures, a boutique production company focusing on audio, video, photography and multi-media designs. Dean's personal and professional background includes dreaming and avid notebook journaling, creative and copy writing, promotions and marketing, audio/video production, photography, videography, editing, web design and new media. He’s also a fan of collaboration and knows when to turn the reigns over, offer feedback, lead the team and step aside. His portfolio includes print, online, film, video, photography, graphic design and promotions. He’ll show you. He has a book and everything. "When not juggling various online worlds, I do a pretty good mime – but that’s another story."
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10 Responses to SuperBad

  1. joe says:

    superbad is one of my favs, a lot of vulgarity but it was r rated so it was susected. what did you think about the other ones, knocked up, something about marry??
    thanks for the writeup, some of your reviews are long will
    have to come back to read

    • rorydean says:

      Hey Joe->
      Agreed. I remember the first time watching Superbad, well after it screened in theaters, and thinking to myself, wow this is fun – especially the writing, funny stuff indeed. I never thought much of the Pie franchise or Something About Marry (the latter was actually a Farrelly Brothers film, not Apatow, but I see your point).

      thanks for the note, please consider subscribing – stay tuned for more stuff!

  2. Wynne says:

    Ha ha. Yeah Superbad is a great movie. I had to watch it a second time to appreciate it more fully. The first time I was cringing most of the time.

    • rorydean says:

      Hi Wayne,

      Thanks for the note. I agree, the language and subject matter is a bit, shall we say crude, but where I think the film excels is at capturing the High School sentiment of teenagers and their world. It is definitely worth a second and third and.. viewing and for me, gets better with each screening. I think Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen make it all look so easy.

  3. Mina Joshi says:

    Hi Rory

    Thank you for your comments on my blog.

    First time on your blog. I will be following it regularly now. I never know which movie to watch so your reviews will give me an idea of which one to see. Have you done any reviews on Bollywood movies? I think you should at least see one and decide for yourself!!


    • rorydean says:

      Hi Mina,

      You’re welcome. Networking is work but it is also fruitful. I appreciate you following the blog and look forward to getting to know you through our shared enthusiasm for movies. I started Above the Line for the very reason you point out, to engage an ever-growing audience of movie fans looking for practical advice on current, popular, non-so-popular and classic films. Roger Ebert has called this a very special time in movie history where blogs and websites hosted by the personal movie critic are actually pushing against the traditional notion of the professional critic.

      I am working my way through a really long list of movie reviews to ‘catch-up’ so to speak. My movie enthusiasm far exceeds the writing of this blog which means I have a lot of work to do. Right now I have the Dharma Productions/Red Chilies Entertainment production, My Name Is Khan on my list. If you have others that you’ve seen or are interested in, by all means let me know and I’ll cover them here.


  4. Everyone who knows me says I HAVE to see this movie. I’ve been meaning to, just haven’t gotten around to it. After reading your review I am definitely putting it next in our Netflix queue. Thanks!

    • rorydean says:

      Hi Amber,

      You won’t regret your choice. There are plenty of reviewers out there who found the humor too crude or the overt sexuality excessive, but I feel that such advice misses the point. I mean who watches a horror movie and doesn’t expect to be frightened? Don’t forget the other films from these filmmakers, each brings a familiar hoot.


  5. CMrok93 says:

    “Superbad” is one of the funniest and best buddy/coming-of-age comedies I’ve seen in a long, long time. The Jonah Hill/Michael Cera pairing is pure genius because their comedy styles, although totally different, work swimmingly together. Don’t even get me started on Mintz-Plasse as McLovin, the wannabe Irish R&B singer. B-E-A-Utiful.

    • rorydean says:

      Yes! Superbad was a surprise hit for me since I missed it in theaters and then caught it at my local rental place. Good call regarding the Hill/Cera pairing, did you get a chance to watch any of the behind the scenes footage? A nice glimpse into the process, and interesting to see the things that ultimately proved the choice to bring these two together, among other things. I actually can’t remember the last time I saw a genre pic like this that was anywhere close to it. Some of compared the American Pie franchise and even as far back as Fast Times at Ridgemont High – but I don’t think any of these films are in direct competition. Ah, yes, McLovin -> I think he has a new picture out, can’t remember the name off the top of my head, but he’s playing against type which will be interesting as he was pretty awesome as the nerdy dude here. Cheers->

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