by ED SYMKUS & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & elcome to the demented love child of American Graffiti and American Pie. Welcome to a film that's likely going to please and stay with large numbers of teens and adults. Oh, it's R-rated? Teens can't see it? Well, then, allow me to pass on a bit of irresponsible advice. If you're in high school, and you want to see this film, ask an older person to buy you a ticket. Or buy a ticket yourself for the ultra-violent, but PG-13-rated The Bourne Ultimatum, then sneak in to Superbad, which earned its R for -- oh, no! -- foul language and sex jokes!!
The deal is this: Teens will love this movie because it's about them. It has an air of reality that's usually not seen in teen films. The same reasoning goes for why adults will get into it. If you're all grown up now, there's a chance that you'll see yourself in it. And even if you weren't one of these people, you certainly knew some of them.
It's about the exploits of a bunch of high school seniors who are getting ready to go to a party, their last one together before they go off to college. The trio at the center of it includes blowhard Seth (Jonah Hill), who likes Web porn, is crass with everyone he meets -- be it pals, teachers, girls -- and has a filthy, out-of-control mouth. His longtime best pal is the comparatively meek Evan (Michael Cera), who is easily embarrassed and passes for the film's voice of reason. The fact that that voice is kind of high and squeaky makes him cuddlier and the film funnier. And then there's Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a fellow who will later become known as McLovin -- just plain McLovin. He's their hanger-on pal and one of the uncoolest characters in the history of cinema. Or maybe he's the film's hero. Whatever his real role, Fogell-McLovin has a face, a demeanor, and a line delivery that we haven't seen before.
These three are not exactly on the most popular lists of anybody at school, yet there are a couple of girls who don't run away when Evan or Seth talks to them. When Becca (Martha MacIsaac) catches Evan staring at her breasts, she thinks it's cute -- but he starts stammering nervously. When Seth is paired up with Jules (Emma Stone) in cooking class, he acts clownishly behind her back, yet lusts after her. As for McLovin, it's hard to tell if he even thinks about girls.
Like most well-developed scripts, this one -- written by longtime pals Seth Rogen (star of Knocked Up) and Evan Goldberg when they were 14, and now polished by them to a sheen -- uses the first part as a set-up for the second.
Early bits include a couple of great Orson Welles fat jokes, an outrageous flashback to Seth's childhood "drawing fetish," and the central theme of these guys trying to get involved with that upcoming party by using a fake ID to get some liquor.
Lots of bad teen movies have come our way over the years. But amid all of Superbad's raucous antics, there's an undeniable sweetness on display -- due, obviously, to the touch of producer Judd Apatow, who directed, wrote and produced The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up.
Superbad also rises above the level of similar films in that the multiple storylines about party-crazy kids -- even with some funny and ragged edges featuring drinking and cussing and searching for sex -- are really more about friendship and separation anxiety (impending when these kids head to college in the fall).
The film goes over the comic edge with the activities of a couple of goof-off cops (Rogen and Saturday Night Live regular Bill Hader) who come across like little boys in uniforms... with guns and plenty of absurd advice on the ways of love. And one of the running gags has Seth regularly getting hit and falling down. The main point of what goes on during this one, long, eventful night seems to be that high school kids are goofy and adults are idiots.
But the film's warmth and the script's sharpness are what you'll recall. Or maybe it'll be the priceless performance by first-time screen actor Mintz-Plasse as McLovin. Or maybe, just maybe, it'll be the end credits sequence featuring many more samples of Seth's "drawing fetish."