What do you get when you mix the tag team blaxploitation comedies such as Uptown Saturday Night and Let’s Do It Again with the raucous sex comedies of the 80’s and what do you get? You get the funniest movie of the year so far, yes, even funnier than Knocked Up. Before you scream “blasphemy!!”, it should be noted that SuperBad is written by that film’s lead, Seth Rogen. Rogen also co-stars as a clearly bi-polar, rookie police officer, serving up some of the film’s best lines by far. Rogen cut his teeth co-writing some of the funniest episodes of the brilliant but short-lived series, Undeclared.
Longtime best friends Seth(Accepted’s Jonah Hill) and Evan(Arrested Development’s Michael Cera) are facing separation for the first time, with college looming right around the corner. But before that, the two boys have one last chance to hook up with their respective crushes. Thanks to the efforts of their supremely nerdy buddy, Fogell, who has managed to come up with the worst fake ID ever, the three Musketeers plan for one final, euphoric blaze of glory. Things, ofcourse, don’t quite go as planned. In order to win the hearts(or rather, get laid by) the women of their choosing, they’re tasked with bringing enough liquor for the night’s party. Sounds simple enough, right?
Not so much. Two fratboyish cops(played to sophmoric perfection by co-writer Seth Rogen and Bill Hader), one sassy cashier with a vet exam, and one brutal right cross cause the boys to spin out into their own disastrous misadventures. Seth and Evan are literally plowed into by one calamitous event after another: crashing house parties; dancing with other men’s girlfriends to predictable results; and even a certain monthly visit taking place at a most inopportune time.
Surprisingly, it’s Fogell who has the funniest arc of the entire film. It’s not a good thing in reality when the cops start taking a shine to you, and that’s multiplied to the nth degree here, as Fogell tags along with the woefully inept, Star Wars quoting peace keepers. They’re more akin to a pair of fratboys who signed up because of fthe free doughnuts and discount coffee, but not so much on the crime stopping. They decide to take this scrawny kid with the obviously fake ID and limited prospects with the opposite sex under their wing. Fogell, passing himself off as the Hawaiian organ donor with the singular title of McLovin, proves more than capable of serving as their young padawan.
Forget the Wilson/Stiller/Vaughn/Farrell corner of the comedy universe. The fresh new joint is the newly dubbed Apatow/Rogen galaxy. With 40-year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and now this film, they have crafted arguably the three funniest films of the last few years. I’d posit that SuperBad is actually the funniest of the three, while being considerably more vulgar than both and certainly less senstitive. That’s not to say their aren’t moments where the characters stop and take a breath. The main thrust of the film is Seth and Evan’s need for atleast one night of acceptance from their peers, but also beneath the surface is their fear at losing the one other person who has understood them completely for their entire lives. Even amidst the tenth or eleventh joke about male genitalia, it never gets old or stale. It’s obvious from the start just how in tune with eachother Seth, Evan, and even Fogell are, and we genuinely want to see them stay together as a single force for immaturity.
I’d venture to say that SuperBad won’t be for everyone. It is extremely vulgar, demeaning towards women at times, and downright gross at other points. It’s also undeniably funny, with jokes coming at you a mile a minute. During my second screening of the film, a friend of mine admitted that he held off a trip to the bathroom because there never seemed to be a break in between jokes. When a film causes you to ignore the welfare of your bladder and kidneys, can there be anymore glowing of a recommendation?