Before they go their separate ways for college, best friends Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) attempt to lose their virginity a popular kid’s house party. However, though third-wheel Fogell’s (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) freshly-purchased fake ID will help them buy booze to impress the ladies, a couple of cops (Seth Rogen, Bill Hader) and some separation anxiety stands in their way…

You know how every rom-com in the late nineties boasted the tag "from the creators of Four Weddings And A Funeral"? Well, nowadays it seems that every comedy going has bearded helmer Judd Apatow attached in some capacity or other. Having churned out two memorably brilliant efforts with recent hits The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, the writer/director lends his producing hat to yet another laughter-marathon.

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And the result? In short, Superbad is super funny. While not possessing as much heart or depth as Apatow’s aforementioned smashes (he’s ‘only’ producing here), the rapid-fire funnies have a surprisingly high hit-mark which ensures its often rip-roaringly, heart-clenchingly hilarious. Yes, there’s a surprising pathos unearthed from a couple of sweet, borderline-homosexual conversations between best buds Evan and Seth, but the main focus here is on pant-soiling laughs.

Though these range from awkward sexual encounters (“I’m so wet”… “Yeah they said that would happen in health class”) to inspired dialogue (“One name? Who are you? Seal?”), the majority of the material on show revolves around vulgar dick-based banter. Thankfully, it’s all filtered through an intelligence funnel so that the erection-themed discussions and sex-getting strategies wreak of memory-twitching reality. Under-age drink-buying? Been there. Going to parties looking to hook up? Who hasn’t. Hiding your genetalia in your waistband? Well, the less said about that the better.

And credit where credit’s due, much of the success here is due to the script from Apatow regular/star Seth Rogen and his chum Evan Goldberg. Tellingly naming the two leads after themselves, it’s clear that this tale is largely autobiographical and carefully crafted after years of fine-tuning the experiences they once saw through younger eyes. Things might slow down in the middle while our trio are separated, but the knowing way the high school feel is captured (didn’t you call those not close to you by their full name back then?) makes this the best teen sex-orientated comedy since American Pie.

While Christopher Mintz-Plasse steals scenes-aplenty ("It's in") and was the focus of the pre-release hype with his sure-to-be-a-T-shirt catchphrase "I am McLovin", both Hill and Cera are equally as impressive. As perfect foils for each other, Hill is a chubby loud-mouthed livewire while Arrested Development’s Cera is a gawky awkward sweetheart (the way he says "byeee" is classic). Indeed, it speaks volumes that Rogen himself and Saturday Night Live regular Bill Hader are far less successful as the partying cops than our trio of pubescent skirt-chasing geeks.

It might largely favour smut over heart, but Superbad is crudeness of the highest calibre. Simply put, it’s a McHoot.

Reviewed on: 06 Feb 2009
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An ode to friendship in the final night of high-school leads to a party never to be forgotten.
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Read more Superbad reviews:

Scott Macdonald ****1/2
Merlin Harries ****

Director: Greg Mottola

Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Starring: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Martha MacIsaac, Emma Stone, Aviva Farber, Joe Lo Truglio, Kevin Corrigan, Clement Blake

Year: 2007

Runtime: 114 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA

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If you like this, try:

The 40 Year Old Virgin
Stand By Me