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.