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All that you have seen in the trailers is true: Superbad is superfunny and superraunchy. Man-children Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen strike yet again, officially solidifying freaks and geeks as the new winners.


For high school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), the excitement of impending graduation is offset by the anxiety of separating from one another—and getting laid before college. While Evan is the shy, mindful-of-girls'-feelings type, Seth is only interested in one thing—well, maybe three, if you count breasts. Then there's Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), aka McLovin (aka the name you'll have stuck in your head whether you see Superbad or not), their hyper-geeky friend with a fake I.D. so fake, it looks like it was made to get him caught. As "a 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor named McLovin," Fogell is their best shot at scoring booze for a party they've been quasi-invited to. When his beer run goes hilariously awry, however, it begins the decline of a night on which Evan and Seth had hoped to become drunk girls' mistakes. Fogell gets scooped up and befriended by inept cops (Seth Rogen and Bill Hader) who drink on the job, while Seth and Evan resort to desperate measures in the name of alcohol and chicks—only to wind up going their separate ways following an argument. But by night's end, the two best friends ensure that they at least won't be going to sleep alone.


Young though they may be, lead actors Hill and Cera are adept in two different schools of comedy: Hill (Knocked Up) is at his best when shouting obscenities, while Cera (Arrested Development) excels at mumbling them. Such a yin-yang of overt and deadpan comedic styles, respectively, is what helps make Superbad the laugh-a-minute affair it is. In fact, to draw comparisons to senior members of the Judd Apatow Comedy Troop, Hill is the Seth Rogen-in-waiting and Cera the Steve Carell version. The duo's best work, however, comes in the raw, albeit side-splittingly hilarious, reality of two teenagers much closer than is considered cool. Mintz-Plasse, with his formidable energy that could only be sustained by a first-time actor like himself (or maybe Robin Williams), often steals the spotlight and will be probably wear the crown of Superbad's most quoted, but the cracks in his range and voice do wear thin after a while. As the resident "grown-ups," Rogen (who co-wrote) and SNL's Hader steer Superbad away from becoming a teen-movie cliché in all the right spots. As any other incompetent movie cops these two would be terribly miscast, but given the sheer degree to which their cops are incompetent, better fits would be hard to find.


It takes a bespectacled, screechy-voiced teenager to immortalize the line "I am McLovin," but we can really thank writers Rogen and Evan Goldberg, childhood friends and Da Ali G Show co-writers. For Rogen, the foremost disciple of his like-minded Superbad producer and overall career benefactor Judd Apatow, comedy lies in the minutiae of awkward situations. Whereas some screenwriters get a kick out of pratfall humor, Rogen and Goldberg truly tap into deep resources—hopefully not all culled from real-life experiences—nobody else could seemingly possess, and the results are rarely less than painfully hilarious. But parents beware: While Knocked Up masqueraded as "adult," Superbad is as inappropriate for you as, say, Pulp Fiction was for kids. Although the writers' voices feature most prominently in the movie, director—and, yes, Apatow affiliate—Greg Mottola (The Daytrippers) does well to bring it all together. He is able to convey both the raunchiness and the tenderness, with the latter being just as important to the story and integral to its success as the former. There are times when Mottola and the writers linger too long in one place, but for the most part the behind-the-scenes crew matches its onscreen counterpart sex joke for sex joke.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 1/2 stars.