Superbad ★★★★½

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I'm such an unabashed fan of the "one night teen party" movie. Dazed and Confused, American Graffiti, Take Me Home Tonight, and Can't Hardly Wait are all great examples of this relatively niche subgenre. But for me, Superbad is definitely the best depiction of the one night teen party movie and will be very hard to top. The reason for this is simple. Superbad is my "one night teen party" movie.

What I mean by that is that the other movies I mentioned are all intrinsically tied to the era they are depicting or released in. Dazed and Confused is about the late 70s teen life, Can't Hardly Wait evokes memories of the late 90s. And so on and so forth. Superbad is arguably as much about teen life in the early 2000s (right before smart phones and social media took over everyone's lives) as Can't Hardly Wait is a fun 90s teen time capsule or as much as Dazed and Confused captured the 70s.

Although I am almost certain Superbad wasn't intended to be a "teens these days" comedy, my comparison to Dazed and Confused's period depiction of the 70s still stands. It's because Superbad, with all its vulgarity and selfish characters and even its awkward homophobia, feels so authentic and true to teenagers of the day.

Seth is an over-the-top asshole of a character who wouldn't have any redeeming qualities if it weren't for his connection to Evan. Evan is an overly awkward, nervous kid who doesn't let his hormones take control of his feelings for his crush. The characters and the chemistry between Hill and Cera really sell the humor and the heart between the two.

The running thread (that's really hammered to death in the unrated version) about Seth and Evan going to separate colleges in the fall, gives the movie a strong backbone from which it draws empathy and drama. At least as much drama as this type of movie can handle. What really strikes me about the movie is how these two co-defendant friends come to terms with the changes that are coming in their friendship while also embracing (for the first time in their lives) the fact that they are so close.

Superbad isn't just a strong depiction of teenagers in the early 2000s. The other nail that the movie hits square on its head is the variety of party/drinking scenes. The movie doesn't only spotlight the quintessential "teens chasing booze and girls" story. It surprisingly paints an accurate view of different eras of socializing.

There's Jules' party covering the teen era. The house party with Kevin Corigan shows the post high school, early to mid-20s/college era of socal parties. And the cops' brief stop at the bar with McLovin/Fogel covers the more adult age era of socialization and, in particular, drinking. For a movie about high school kids trying to get beer, I feel like the movie went above and beyond to highlight (without really commenting on, per se) different facets of social drinking and partying.

But regardless of all that I've written above, Superbad is really hysterical and still manages to make me laugh and admire the comedic talent and timing on display. And for that, I love the movie and have found that it never gets old for me.

Matt liked this review