Earlier this summer, director Judd Apatow and star Seth Rogen teamed up to deliver the delightfully crass Knocked Up. For Superbad, Apatow serves as producer, Rogen co-wrote the screenplay, and Greg Mottola (The Daytrippers) takes over directing duties. The result is a movie that is as funny as Knocked Up, but also has its heart in exactly the right place. A word of warning: Superbad is one of the most foul-mouthed American films in recent memory, one-upping Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin for pure crudeness.
Essentially, the film is an extremely clever update of the tired teen sex comedy genre. Michael Cera (Arrested Development) plays the sweetly naive Seth, and Jonah Hill plays Evan, his sex-crazed best friend. With high school graduation looming, the upcoming weekend offers the duo’s best hope of losing their virginity and acclimating to the nonstop party that college promises to be. Just how this last hurrah plays out is beyond either of their expectations. Superbad takes the raw material of late adolescent temptation-sex and alcohol-and injects it with an over-the-top sensibility that leaves very little to the imagination.
Despite its comic triumph, Knocked Up suffered from the implausibility of its premise. Superbad instead focuses on what unites all of Apatow’s previous productions-the dissolution of the homosocial male bond. Superbad‘s ending is as sweet as any first-rate family film, and somehow more honest. The love between best friends is not fodder for gay jokes. Instead it’s treated with the reverence that it deserves.
One could fill pages with speculation about how Apatow’s productions reflect changing societal mores, but the fact that remains is that in the short span of one summer, the Apatow stable of talent has proven with two remarkable comedies that they’re in it for the long run, and we should all be so lucky to go along for the ride. : And I haven’t even mentioned McLovin.