Summary The final year of high school better be the best one for three friends.
Going back to school is never an easy or fun thing to do, whether it be fourth grade, senior year, or even college, most all students dread going back after months of what seems to be endless summer, playing in the sun, staying up late, no homework, but eventually the months end and the new smells of textbooks and no air conditioning welcome you back for another knowledge-filled year. While many movies accurately portray the ebb and flow of academics, I believe Superbad to be on the top, coming in close behind the likes of 'Animal House' and 'The Breakfast Club." This film gives viewers intense nostalgia of senior year in high school, providing many belly laughs and insight, Superbad is a generational film and one that I always relate to, even after the umpteenth viewing.
This film came out during my High School career as to give some insight to my personal bias towards it, Superbad literally defined my experiences in school, I felt as if I were with Seth (Jonah Hill, “Beach Bum”) Evan (Michael Cera, “Youth in Revolt”) and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kick Ass) throughout their final year every time I watch it, it transports me to a simpler time, when all the worries of the world came down to girls, and making it through what seemed to be the longest years of one's life. And the exploration of what comes after school hits as true today, life goes on and it's what you make of it, there's no one certain path that a higher being has curated for you, life is simply about making it through with those you care about most, with the many highs and lows that come with it, and with that underneath all the innuendos, swearing, and debauchery of Superbad, there's heart.
Despite my overly sentimental statements from above, Superbad certainly isn't a perfect film, but for me it's easy to look past the writing flaws due to the pure delight that this film is. I'm not going to be giving it a perfect score, and it takes everything in my might to do so, but I must put aside my preconceived notions and acknowledge the hiccups. But firstly let's dive into just what about this film that hits my funny bones in all the right ways. It really boils down to the characters, each given their own DNA and set of quirks to make them different from the others, the three characters have become such pop culture icons that plenty of copy cat films have come out bearing the same resemblance, and while some are good like this year's "Booksmart" none really coming near to hitting the nostalgic notes as perfectly and balanced as Superbad does.
It's easy to relate to at least one of these characters, if not all. Seth whose main priority is to lose his virginity to his long time crush Jules (Emma Stone, “The Favourite”) does whatever he can to impress her, such as the stories main device; for Seth (and the gang) to provide the alcohol for Jules end of school bash. Seth tries so hard to do everything right, but this is a high school comedy so obviously things go very wrong before anything goes his way, there's bum fights, coke fights, cop fights and a lot of puking. Evan on the other side represents every awkward interaction anyone who has ever completed even a year of high school can relate to, he's bad at talking to girls, horribly awkward in class, and just the definition of a goober if there ever was one. But he balances Seth's more egomaniacal personality with a softer touch, and while this whole film is immensely quotable I think Michael Cera delivers most of my favorite lines. And lastly Fogell is the third wheel friend, the one that usually disappears after graduating, but fond memories are usually had with them. And without Fogell and his fake ID, the lads would never get alcohol and McLovin' would never have made the cultural impact that it did when this film came out. The scenes with Fogell and officers Slater (Bill Hader, “It Chapter 2”) and Michaels (Seth Rogen, “Long Shot”) are absolutely riotous with scenes that should last forever in comedic cinematic history.
Clearly I enjoy this movie a lot, it tugs on all of my nostalgic strings in all the right hilarious ways, but it's not a perfect film narratively. It actually doesn't have much of a narrative, and that's part of its appeal, it's just about high schoolers looking to get laid before college starts, it really revolves around the characters relationships to each other. With that being said some of the story beats feel forced as to get to the next comedic set piece, such as Seth being hit by a car which leads to extorting the culprit into getting them alcohol, although funny, it all just feels too conveniently placed to progress the journey. And while the two cops provide much of the films quintessential dialogue, their characters are so farfetched and unrealistic it's difficult to let it slide. But given the over the top nature of this film and the wonderful performances it ultimately accumulates to a minor hiccup in an otherwise gut bustingly funny series of events.
Overall Superbad is easily one of my favorite coming of age school films, it's upbeat and hilarious, portraying a fairly accurate display of one's final year in high school before being set off into the real world. The relationships between all the characters are the real center of Superbad, with hilarious one liners and unforgettable moments, like Seth full on head-butting Jules in a drunken stupor, this film is sure to hit everyone's funny bone. It's crazy, over the top and just plain hysterical. While it does suffer with quite a few unrealistic elements, and some definite writing issues, Superbad is a film that will resonate with anyone who graduated High School in a similar fashion, with heart and humor tying everything together.
I give Superbad 4.5 stars out of 5.
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