Sunday, August 19, 2007

At the Movies: Superbad

I couldn't let my Summer of Apatow go by without hitting "Superbad" on the opening weekend, could I? Brief spoilers coming up just as soon as I scratch somebody's back...

I don't know that I have much to add beyond the conventional wisdom surrounding the movie, whether the good (it's explosively funny at many points, Michael Cera proves "Arrested Development" was no fluke for him, the kid playing McLovin is a real find) or the bad (the female characters are two-dimensional at best, and the movie's too long, with the non-McLovin sections in the second half in particular need of a trim).

But the first item on the Good list is really all that matters, isn't it? I got the hiccups pretty early in the movie (I think it was around the time of the flashback to Seth's, um, drawing problem), and ordinarily when that happens, I'm able to recover by pausing to take five or six really deep breaths. Problem was, the movie kept making me laugh; I'd guess I was hiccupping for at least 20 minutes straight, and came close to respiratory failure when the cops (wonderfully played by Rogen and Bill Hader) argued about cock-blocking McLovin. Funny forgives a lot of other sins in my book.

Someone tell me if I caught all the members of the Apatow Repertory Players in this one: Jonah Hill and Rogen, obviously, Carla Gallo as the bleeding girl, Kevin Corrigan as the angry party host, Krumholtz and Martin Starr as two of the cokeheads who make Evan sing and, in a neat surprise, Steve "Kowchevski" Bannos once again playing a crabby math teacher. Did I miss anybody?

"Superbad" doesn't exactly invite deep analysis, plus I promised to take my daughter to the science museum, so I'll leave it to you guys to discuss. What did everyone else think?

18 comments:

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, forgot one: the angry boozehound who destroys the Goldslick bottle was Daniel's "cousin" from "Beers and Weirs."

Eric Almendral said...

You missed Martin Starr (Bill from "Freaks") as the bearded cokehead. Plus James Franco's little brother, Dave, ha.

The director, Greg Mottola, also did a number of "Undeclared" episodes, including (I think) all the ones Seth Rogen wrote.

Chris W. said...

The other dude in the picture you have posted isn't an Apatow-affiliated actor but I recognized him from the movie SLC Punk! where he played the philosophical goth who argues anarchy versus order with Steve-o.

Chris W said...

Addendum:
SLC Punk! also had a role played by Jason Segel of Apatow fame.

Also there was Joe Lo Truglio from The State and Wet Hot American Summer.

stevie said...

I was trying to figure out who Krumholtz played and totally missed Martin Starr but I remember it now.

I thought Superbad was totally hilarious but my complaints are similar to yours, Alan. I'll also add that it was just a very funny, filthy teen sex comedy—it kinda lacks the sweetness and, well, adultness of Knocked Up or The 40 Year Old Virgin.

All the same, nothing's made me laugh that hard in a theater since Perfect Stranger earlier this year, and for very different reasons.

anon said...

Alan,

Technically speaking, we only hear Bannos' voice, right? I admit that I creeped myself out a little by recognizing Kowchevski from that tidbit alone.

Anon

Alan Sepinwall said...

No, you see Bannos. Briefly, but you see him.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Having reflected on it, by the way, I think the bit that began my epic battle with the hiccups wasn't the doodle montage, but Jonah Hill's line about where his back is actually located.

I have to say, I love my daughter very, very much, but it was really frustrating spending all day with her today as I was overwhelmed by a need to quote the filthiest lines, but I couldn't.

Jennifer J. said...

A few minor misses:

1) The girl who's the liquor store attendant when McLovin' gets knocked out is the same actress who played Jill, Jay's girlfriend, in 40 Year-Old Virgin. Also, the other liquor store clerk had a brief role in the same movie. Both had small one-time roles on Arrested Development as well.

2) How does Judd feel about the hiring of "Gabby" (Becca's gal pal) who had a role in "Daddio" early in her career? "Daddio"!

3) The cashier at Fogell's job (Good Shopper) played the speed dating MC in 40YOV.

Can we agree that Seth's visions of how things play out in Good Shopper were hilarious?!

4) The old father with the bat (thrown at Seth's back after they crash a little girl's outside sleepover) was played by a Mark Rogen. My guess is he's related to Seth Rogen. Anyone know for certain?

My husband and I really enjoyed the movie. We laughed a lot. It did drag, but only a wee bit. Most everything else made it worth it. I thought McLovin' stole the show, but Michael Cera really impressed me. He had one of my favorite lines. After drunk Becca tells him she's really wet he says something about "well, that's what they told us would happen in Health." Hilarious!

I just wished for more Martin Starr. Is that so wrong?

Jennifer J. said...

Oh, how could I forget, seeing Steve Bannos rocked my world!

Artie said...

I might be wrong, but the police dispatcher (appearing in voice only) sounded a lot like Leslie Mann (Apatow's wife)...

Abbie said...

Michael Cera's character was not all that different from George Michael Bluth. But then I really didn't care, because I'm not tired of the Michael Cera character yet. He can continue to ride that out until it's just no longer feasible to imagine him as a geeky teenage boy.

This movie was hilarious.

Ben said...

He's not a member of the Apatow pack, but the second party featured a few brief appearances by Clark Duke, the other half of Clark and Michael.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Can we agree that Seth's visions of how things play out in Good Shopper were hilarious?!

Yes, we absolutely can. Not sure which I liked more: the $80 bill, or the old lady so cheerfully offering to buy Seth the booze.

Jennifer J. said...

Alan: I loved the $80 bill; I loved the old lady saying, "Have fun fucking Jules!", but, weirdly enough, I loved the slit throat/blood gush the most. I guess b/c it was just so silly.

Artie: That would be cool if the police dispatcher was Leslie Mann. I'm hoping the IMDB will fill up on trvia for Superbad soon. I liked her last call to their car when she specifically bullies them to get going.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie again.

Anonymous said...

also the crazy guy who backs in to Seth outside of the liquor store was from Undeclared. right? wasn't he the guy from Lloyd's class who did all the voices?

Carrie said...

I can't believe I missed Martin Starr. I was forced to sit in the front row, so I guess I didn't have a good enough angle to pick out all of the cameos. Oh, well, guess I'll just have to go see it again!

dez said...

I was looking up pictures of Martin Starr since I didn't recognize him in the film, and I noticed that Jonah Hill wears the same camoflauge shorts in "Superbad" that Seth Rogen did in "Knocked Up." Eww, kinda.

I loved "Superbad," but I agree it was a tad too long. Are teenage boys these days *that* filthy? Eek!