Sunday, December 09, 2007

Movies: Superbad

Although the IMDb page says it debuted in 2007, in reality, the roots of "Superbad" can be found in tales that are thousands of years old:

"A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man."

- Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

The tale of Seth and Evan, two high school seniors looking to finally pair off with some girls for the summer, is about as mythical as you might expect. Here is a world where cops are shooting at stop signs, where girls are menstruating on your pants, where getting a pack of booze can be more perilous than jumping off a cliff. It's silly, slapdash fun, but it's also a fairly typical hero's journey. What seems like a simple plan to get the booze and get the girls turns into one long, long night.

The chemistry between the two lead actors, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, is excellent, even though Jonah looks like perhaps the oldest high schooler ever. In making this movie, it's obvious the creative team (writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, director Greg Mottola, and producer Judd Apatow) wasn't trying to perfectly replicate the high school experience - this is high school, all right, but larger and more dysfunctional; this is high school that's superbad.

There are some things that keep the flick from gaining a higher rating, unfortunately. While there are some laughs, on the whole, the film just wasn't as funny for me as it should have been (the same could be said of Apatow's other hits, "Knocked Up" and "The 40-Year Old Virgin"). And, as usual, the middle of the plot sags like an old mattress. But, all in all, the tight ending and fun characters make seeing "Superbad" worthwhile.

Rating: 8/10


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