Every once in a while, a movie comes along that gets phenomenal reviews. I see these reviews and it makes me happy.
"Oh good," I say to myself, "A quality film for me and the Missus to see on a night out."
Then I put on my top hat and waistcoat, help my wife with her stole, and we make our way into town to the cinema.
Now, you're probably thinking to yourself, "Oh ho, this stuffed-shirt has a rude awakening in store for him, for this particular film is rife with ribald humor and profanity," and, indeed, the genitalia-related humor is quite thick. In fact, there is scarcely a scene in the film that does not involve underage drinking, graphic discussion, depiction, or reenactment of sexual acts, or unsubtle mockery of peace officers.
That, however, is all pretty damn funny.
Hell, the whole movie is pretty funny. Lots of great moments. But, those damn reviews. Like Lost in Translation, the movie has so much to overcome in built-up expectations that it inevitably falls somewhat short.
The trailer actually doesn't tell you a lot about this movie, other than highlighting some scenes, but the gist is this: Two life-long best friends are nearing the end of their senior year in high school. Evan (Michael Cera) has been accepted to Dartmouth. Seth (Jonah Hill) hasn't, and he's worried that he and Evan will grow apart when they go to different schools.
More immediate concerns for both boys is the fact that college girls will be expecting men who know what they're doing in bed, and time is running out for them to acquire the experience they so desperately need. A plan is formulated, involving buying booze for a party being thrown by a popular girl using the fake ID of Evan's friend Fogell (who Seth hates, for various reasons). Thus, the boys hope to earn the gratitude and adoration of the girls. The plan is complicated by the fact that Fogell's fake ID is, to say the least, not very convincing.
Hijinx ensue. We learn a lot about Evan and Seth, they learn a lot about each other and women. Fogell learns a lot about law enforcement. A pair of cops ... well, I'm not sure if they actually learn anything, but they're pretty entertaining.
And it's good. Quite good.
Is it the ultimate raunchy teen comedy with a heart? Maybe. To be honest, there isn't a lot of high-profile competition in that arena.
Is it the best movie of the summer? No. (Probably going with Knocked Up on that front.)
Is it the best comedy of the summer? No. (I'm going to have to go with Knocked Up for that one, too. Once is also quite good, but so benign that I couldn't really even review it.)
Perhaps my problem is that I don't identify as well with high school kids as I once did. I certainly had roughly the same problems as these guys when I was in school; I was shy, prone to saying stupid things at the wrong times, painfully inept when dealing with girls, etc. The problem is, the guys in Superbad (mainly Seth) seem to drop their insecurity at moments that are very convenient if you happened to be looking for good sound bites for a movie trailer.