Since the all-conquering American Pie way back in 1999, teen comedies have struggled to muster anything worth a second glance, never mind two hours of your life you’ll never get back. Lewd gags are the genre’s staple, but without a little substance to back them up, recent releases have often fallen flat on their face.
With Seth Rogan’s surge onto the scene this summer, albeit as regrettably annoying and over the top Ben Stone in Knocked Up, his raw talent took a step in the right direction. With Superbad, Rogan takes a gigantic leap.
Now turning writer as well as actor, this, another from under Judd Apatow’s wing of comedy, is far more attuned to Rogan strand of humour. Where as Knocked Up aims to please young and old, men and women, only to struggle in all areas, Superbad is a straight to the point, crude relative of Knocked Up, offering a whole heap of laughs and a softer side that even the more mature viewer will enjoy.
Like American Pie, Superbad has its fair share of smutty teen gags and lead Jonah Hill revels the role of Seth. Not the most popular in school, Seth falls into the tried and tested storyline of a kid trying to get with the target of his affections before heading off to college, and as always, his sights are set seemingly a little too high.
Seth is backed up by best friend Evan, played by undoubted star of the future and Arrested Development stalwart Michael Cera. Cera slots perfectly into the role, calm and collected but still some way off when reading girls and the storyline is energized when the pair are invited to the latest party and a chance to finally get laid.
Using part third-wheel Fogell’s fake ID (Mintz-Plasse), the would-be studs are laden with the task of buying alcohol for the party and as you’d expect thing start to go a little wrong. Fogell gives himself the less than clever, single-barrelled name of ‘McLovin’ on his fake ID, only to find himself befriending a pair of unruly cops, one of whom is played by Rogan, while Evan and Seth, in a daze of panic at Fogell’s apparent arrest, try to steal alcohol from a shady party across town.
You get the feeling the entire cast had a great deal of fun making Superbad and it comes out in the confidence of every performance and interplay between the actors. What’s more, as the tone of the film drifts between harmless fun and abrasive comedy, the hilarious, and at times shocking, crude gags feel right at home, meaning even the most level headed viewer will find themselves chuckling throughout.
Despite the rude jokes and a middle portion that loses its way at times, the script is well-rounded, doubling back for a classy conclusion making Superbad a defining teen comedy for the post-American Pie generation.