Vantage point

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


It is not very easy to create great humour out of embarrasing sex-related situations without crossing the line into "cheap". American Pie managed it, but its sequels fell flat. 40-year-old-virgin managed it very well, and now from the creators of that very movie, comes Superbad which I can very imaginatively describe as "supergood".

The movie, stars Michael Cera, previously famous as George Michael Bluth from one of my favourite sitcoms, Arrested Development, and two hitherto unknown young actors - Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. At its core, the movie seems to have the same basic idea as American Pie - a group of friends desperate to get laid before leaving high school and going to college. Since the core idea seemed very been-there-done-that, I was expecting nothing more than cheap laughs from the movie. However, there is more to the movie than hormonal teens looking for action. Superbad is also about how major inevitable transitions in life can affect friendships. It is about transitioning from a largely egalitarian childhood to a stratified adulthood, where creatures like "success", "pedigree" and "achievement" play decisive roles.

Plus there was the similarity to South Park. A couple of days after watching the movie I realized that I could think of Seth (Hill) as a teenaged Eric Cartman, fat, selfish, insecure, jealous, and completely consumed or obsessed with something. Evan (Cera) could be a teenaged Stan+Kyle, a bit mature, responsible, and slightly embarassed by Seth. And Fogell (Mintz-Plasse) of course is the perfect teenaged Butters, smart but superdorky, always the fall guy, and of course, getting in trouble with the law.

The three teenagers play their roles perfectly, as do Bill Hader and Seth Rogen, the two omnipresent cops. A bit of trivia blast - Seth Rogen also co-wrote the movie with Evan Goldberg. For the less discerning amongst you, this means they named the two main characters after themselves.

This is a movie which is going to be quoted and re-quoted ad nauseum, and it is in your pop cultural interests to watch it as soon as possible.