Superbad Review

Yes, the teen sex comedy has been done to death. No, there is hardly a need for another movie with horny teenagers looking for a big score. Yet, Superbad is the new American Pie, and fully justifies its existence.

It takes one sequence for Superbad, directed by Greg Mottola, to solidify itself as the new king of teenage sex embarrassment, and it happens to involve far more than pie humping. This is unquestionably crude, obnoxious, and flat-out offensive from the first words spoken in the movie. It’s targeting a specific crowd, and it simply nails the demographic flawlessly.

Set during one day, a last chance for three soon-to-be ex-high schoolers to find a girl who will actually sleep with them, Superbad is briskly paced until a slight drag in the middle. The jokes are non-stop, and hardly any scenes go by without some major laugh. Each sequence is wonderfully set up for maximum comedic possibilities, and the script capitalizes on every one of them.

At times, it’s hard to believe the MPAA was lenient enough to give this one an R. Superbad could very well be the new record holder for uses of a favorite four-letter word that rhymes with “muck.” It’s surprisingly not repetitive, as it feels like a natural flow of dialogue. This is a movie crammed with quotable lines, though only when in the company of the right people.

Even with the rapid pacing of the jokes, visual and dialogue driven, there still manages to be enough character development to drive a few key sequences. The ending is actually touching even after characters have been hit by cars (twice), become impossibly intoxicated, failed miserably with their sex life, and been knocked out cold by a carry-out bandit.

Two cops, played by writer Seth Rogen and Bill Hader, are the only out-of-place characters in the film. Their side adventures definitely go slightly over the top, and even in a film that is hardly reality-based, suspension of disbelief isn’t strong enough for their final appearance and actions. It’s still incredibly funny, if not out of place.

There’s little question Jonah Hill steals this movie as Seth. His hilarious rants, absurdly stupid comebacks, and unbelievable sex drive are the sum of Superbad. Michael Cera, the only source of common sense in the movie, still manages to take over later scenes which are perfect in terms of his character.

The actual story here, nothing more than the eternal quest for booze, sex, and more booze, is merely a backdrop. Then again, few comedies are held together with their narrative, and it becomes secondary to the on-screen antics. That’s all Superbad needs to carry itself through nearly two hours of brilliant teen comedy that became one of the biggest surprises of the 2007 over-bloated summer movie season.

Movie ★★★★★ 

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This movie simply glows on Blu-ray, but it’s not quite the perfection you’d expect. Sharpness and clarity are remarkable. Black levels create stunning contrast. The color filters create a beautiful looking HD presentation. Grain is absent completely given the digital source, there are no compression artifacts. However, there’s a distinct absence of detail. Faces look oddly flat and smoothed over. There’s no need for DNR, so that’s not the issue. It seems intentional and is hard to explain until seen, but becomes a distraction lowering the score. 

Video ★★★★☆ 

Both TrueHD and PCM mixes are included, though that’s slight overkill. Everything is front loaded, even during some crowded sequences like parties or the bar. A bit of bass is evident when guns fire or cars pass on the screen. That said, you’re not going to show this off to friends.

Audio ★★★☆☆ 

Short, funny featurettes make up the majority of the extras. Making of Superbad is the longest piece, running 13 minutes. The story of how the movie came to be spliced in with some random behind-the-scenes footage sits beside the otherwise standard presentation.

A four-minute gag reel offers some funny spots, while three lengthy deleted scenes run eight minutes. The last one inside the cop car was obviously too long for the film, but priceless outside of it.

Cop Car Confessions features 13 actors, including Justin Long, in separate segments running through various dialogue with Seth Rogen and Bill Hader in the driver’s seat. Dancing Title Sequence is a three-minute piece on the shooting of the credits. The “SuperMeter “ can run alongside the film, tracking every curse, sex reference, or use of McLovin.

Original Table Read is the cast and crew reading the script back in 2002, but is difficult to hear due to the low quality. Next to it is the updated reading from 2006. Vag-Tastic Voyage is a one-minute in-joke only relevant to those who have seen the movie, and if you’re in that crowd, you know what it is. Loads of trailers and a commentary with the director and cast (which is a necessity after you’ve seen the movie) are also crammed on here.

Four voice mails are included from Jonah Hill to Michael Cera on their casting, their roles, and more. Snakes on Jonah has Hill being forced to deal with some freaky animals as a gag from the crew for around five minutes. TV Safe Lines is a collection of priceless edits that need to be done for the eventual TV version.

Everyone Hates Michael Cera is a variety of clips where Cera is ignored, intermixed with an interview where he praises his time spent with everyone. This one goes for a little less than seven minutes. On-set diaries cover the production from the first shot to the wrap, taking a total of 18 minutes of your time.

The Music of Superbad takes 13 minutes, rather obviously focusing on the original tracks created to set the tone of the movie. Press Junket Meltdown is a funny satire of promotional interviews for three and half minutes. Finally, three audition tapes are included with some dialogue that didn’t make it into the final cut.

Extras ★★★★★ 

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