I’ve read with fascination of late the increasing trend to rate Superbad as 2007’s finest comedy, elevating it above, for instance, Knocked Up, and celebrating it as a minor comedy classic.
Because it isn’t. In fact, for me, Superbad is an unevenly paced movie, that’s too long and lives in the shadow of the aforementioned Knocked Up, which I thought was a stronger and more rounded movie.
That’s not to say that Superbad isn’t a good movie, because as a straight, easy comedy, it’s perfectly functional and not lacking qualities. Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and directed by Arrested Development alumnus Greg Mottola, it follows Seth and Evan (see what the screenwriters did there?) as a pair of soon-to-graduate from High School hormonal teenagers, who find themselves invited to a party. Said party requires booze, which they agree to get, and the film then follows how the following few hours pan out, and how they ultimately get on with the females on their radar.
This involves lots of swearing, some very funny moments, some good interplay between the lead characters and a few contrivances. At worst, it’s harmless, and Superbad is always at the least quite entertaining.
But Superbad’s trump card is effectively its side story, the glorious comic creation that is McLovin. We first meet him as Fogell and write him off as the nerd of the piece, but when he realises he can have any name on his fake ID, he eschews the need for any surname, and instead becomes McLovin, much to the mirth of a pair of cops – played by Rogen and Bill Hader – who encounter him. The adventures of McLovin and these cops are among the highlights of Superbad, and surely there’s scope now for McLovin The Movie? We’d pay to watch that.
As for the main protagonists, mark Jonah Hill as one to watch. His turn as Seth is rude, raucous and highly entertaining, powering his way through any scene that he’s given. To his credit, he handles the emotional stuff well too, and he grounds Superbad even through its rockier moments.
Superbad is a fun, enjoyable comedy, that’s not without those aforementioned flaws. Take it for what it is, and don’t expect any minor classic, and you’ll be hard pushed not to get something from it.
It’s a hard film to justify for high definition purchase, mind you. Much though the 1080p picture was flawless on our test rig, we’re not talking a film that benefits from the added definition particularly. The uncompressed 5.1 audio mix is also strong, but a surround sound workout this isn’t.
The extras package is very good, though, not least for including bloopers that are actually funny. How often does that happen? You’ll also find a good communal commentary track that brings together several members of the cast and crew, while the inclusion of table read throughs is an interesting feature that more discs should carry.
You’ll also find a selection of extended scenes, which are fine for what they are and worth a spin at least once. Likewise, some of the behind the scenes material is fun, too, involving pranks on set, a making of, some interesting on-set diaries and audition tapes.
The SuperMeter, apparently exclusive to the high-def version, is forgettable, though. Its point is to keep score of, for instance, expletives in the film. But beyond the novelty value, it just seems a waste of time.
Still, for a contemporary release, the extras package here is both generous and worthwhile. There are elements of powder puff stuff in there, but there’s substance to the package that go a long way to justifying buying the disc. McLovin then carries it over the line, and makes Superbad worth picking up.