Friday, August 31, 2007

Superbad (2007, Greg Mottola)

Consider this rating highly tentative, as it's hard to this independently of the obviously-awesome experience of seeing it in a full auditorium. But yeah, it's damn funny stuff. Strangely enough, compared to most of the best recent comedies, this goes fairly light on the real-life themes, although a few times when they pop up, they overwhelm the plot by being used in fairly unimaginative ways (like the temporary falling-out between Evan and Seth, to be followed by the inevitable reconciliation). There's also a strange but not unwelcome tension between the authentic nature of the heroes' friendship and the sumo-wrestler's-ass-broad scenes involving the local police. But while the tension makes the film interesting, it's the slapsticky, repetitive feel of the cop scenes that keep Superbad from really attaining classic status. Don't get me wrong, the movie is funny as hell, but only sporadically does it show real comic inspiration, although when it does, buckle up (I especially loved the bit involving a stain on Seth's trousers). Jonah Hill (as Seth) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (as Fogell aka McLovin) are awesome and will almost certainly become fan favorites, but I think Michael Cera should be singled out for recognition. While his costars play to the rafters, Cera grounds the film firmly in reality, reacting in a wholly believable- and hilarious- manner to the chaos that mounts around him. Plus his timing is spooky and- at age 19!- he's already a master of the throwaway line, as when he randomly references a lesson in health-class while in mid-seduction. I was also pleasantly surprised by the strangely bittersweet tone of the final scene, which true to form the movie follows with a bunch of drawings of cocks. Rating: 7 out of 10.

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