I'm a big fan of this new flavour of comedy that has spread over the last few years - and has catapulted the likes of Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell and even Seth Rogen into the limelight. The movies I'm talking about include Dodgeball, The Wedding Crashers and Anchorman, but it's the latest two - 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up that have been really amazing. It's a new style, a new kind of humour which, rather than offering too many gross-out moments, instead plays upon the word exchange - the razor-sharp, lightning-fast witty banter that will oft have you laughing out loud. It helps no end that the ideas - the situations the characters get into and the conversations they have - are quite easy to relate to. This is most apparent when you consider the characters played by Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd in those two movies (characters which were originally designed to be the same, since Knocked Up was written as a direct sequel to 40 Year Old Virgin), who have some of the funniest conversations that I have ever seen committed to film. The latest production from this group is Superbad, also co-written by Seth Rogen himself, and promises to be just as good as its predecessors.
Evan and Seth are best friends on the eve of their graduation from High School. Almost inseparable, they are faced with the disturbing prospect of having to go to different colleges, and nobody is entirely sure how they will survive the break. But in their last couple of weeks at school they are determined to change their lives forever, determined to finally get laid. The plan is simple - buy a lot of booze, go to a house party and get the girls drunk, and then be forever remembered as their drunken mistakes. The problem? - getting the alcohol. And the solution involves two inept cops, some robbery, several car accidents and a fellow student with a fake I.D. under the false name of McLovin.
Superbad is absolutely hilarious, possibly one of the funniest movies that I have ever seen. Taking the new type of humour that has now become their trademark, co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have crafted a fantastic affair that gives you a frank, adult take on teenage high school life and romance, complete with enough swear words to rival Goodfellas. At once painfully realistic, it also pushes the situations to extremes, cramming all kinds of high school experiences into a relatively short period of time in these teens' existences. Supposedly written by Seth and Evan about themselves in school (as you could probably guess from the names of the two characters), it really hits home as being honest and realistic. We even get a dose of the grown up two - at least sort of - in the form of the hilarious cops played by Seth Rogen himself and Knocked Up's Bill Hader, who almost steal the show with their random dialogue and witty improvisations.
Still the performance plaudits should really go to the two leads, Jonah Hill as Seth and Michael Cera as Evan, with newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse also on scene-stealing form with his wacky McLovin character. Hill is loveably loud and lewd, Cera far more Vulcan, which works as a perfect foil. But all of them play surprisingly normal kids, cool more by accident than attitude - depending who you most relate to - they evoke some fond memories. The girls, though secondary to the main characters, are far from incidental and just as refreshingly real as the teen boys. And in fact, what could have easily been a cheap high school farce has been turned - by use of solid characters, a razor-sharp script and some excellent performances - into a superb teen comedy, and so much more than the likes of American Pie. Don't get me wrong, those kinds of teen gross-out films have their place, but Superbad is part of the new generation of superior comedies, alongside 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, and I can only hope that Seth Rogen and co. keep releasing such masterpieces. Highly recommended.