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Teenage wasteland

Posted at 5:44 PM on August 16, 2007 by Euan Kerr

"Superbad" is being advertised as being brought to you by the people behind "40 year-old Virgin" and "Knocked Up." That's true. But if you've run across the cult favorite TV series "Freaks and Geeks" and "Arrested Development" you'll have a better idea of what you're in for.

"Superbad" is director Greg Mottola's frenetic foul-mouthed coming of age comedy opening this weekend, (and then no doubt quoted for months in teenage hang-outs.)

It's well worth seeing, both for the laughs and the plot.

It's the story of Evan, Seth, and Fogell, three socially inept high school seniors caught in their increasingly desperate quest for physical contact with a member of the opposite sex.

The story includes all the requisite elements: bullies, wild end-of-year parties, and young women who understand the ways of the world far more than our hapless heroes.

However, writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have managed to capture something special - a sense of realism. Not in the plot, which is a wild and woolly farce involving a fake ID from Hawaii, Star Wars spouting cops, and a series of pivotal collisions between cars and people.

The realism is in the main characters. All of them are male, and all of them are losers, although none of them really understand why.

There's Seth (Jonah Hill,) a frizzy haired loudmouth who never met a situation he couldn't blame on someone else. His theories on girls run close to misogyny, but it's an expression of his utter cluelessness more than anything else.

There's Evan ("Arrested Development's" Michael Cera) who sees himself as the sensitive kind, but who just below the surface who is pretty much as foul-mouthed and depraved as Seth.

And there's Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse,) the adenoidal nerd whose habit of spouting ghetto slang plunges him into endless depths of hyper-nerdism. He does have the advantage of that fake ID.

They're stereotypes to a point, but Rogan and Goldberg infuse the characters (named after themselves) with a human vulnerability rarely seen in this type of film. Hill, Cera, and Mintz-Plasse then breathe further life into the material.

There are few adults in "Superbad." The men are all just like Seth and Evan, only with a little more money, and in the case of the police officers, guns. Almost everyone seems to have vaguely malevolent intent.

Rogen and 'Saturday Night Live's' Bill Hader are amazing as the police officers, keeping up a blistering stream of one-liners and non sequiturs which is worth the price of admission in itself.

This is an extremely funny film, and one which parents would avoid attending with their own children.

August 2007
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