So in a summer where a film directed by Judd Apatow and starring Seth Rogen made a truckload of money, another film released a couple months later where Apatow produced and Rogen co-wrote made almost the same truckload of money, yet both films were funny for different reasons.
In Superbad, Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Da Ali G Show) wrote the script that Greg Mottola (Undeclared) directed, and the film’s premise is simple enough. Seth (Jonah Hill, Knocked Up) and Evan (Michael Cera, Arrested Development) are high school seniors who are attending one last party, with the help of their friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and his fake ID and subsequent new name ‘McLovin’. The trio’s night takes a dramatic turn, as Fogell is assaulted at the liquor store and Seth and Evan presume that he’s been taken to jail for the fake ID. So Seth and Evan try to get liquor for a party that Seth’s friend Jules (Emma Stone, Drive) is throwing, and Evan wants to get some vodka for Becca (Martha MacIssac, Ice Princess), and the boys desperately want to get with the girls before the boys go to their respective colleges. In the meantime, Fogell isn’t taken to jail, but is taken on a wild ride and a wild night by Officers Slater (Bill Hader, You, Me and Dupree) and Michaels (Rogen), who take him through various twists and turns in the city.
The film is certainly memorable for a different reason than Knocked Up is, for nothing else than this film is slightly more upfront about the sex and booze than Knocked Up, however it’s on a different vein than Knocked Up, but both protagonists seem to have some honorable intentions at the end of the day, but it’s certainly worth it’s hilarious moments. Though like Knocked Up, it seems to meander a little bit and some of these comedies when they run an hour and fifty, always wind up being 10-15 minutes too long. In the case of this version of Superbad, the unrated version lasts longer than the rated at about five minutes, yet the film runs about two hours in length. That doesn’t mean you won’t laugh by any means, as the film is one of the funnier and more charming films of 2007.
You get a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track that sounds quite good, though the music is clearly the star here. Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins and his band sound really clear on the film, and there’s some well-placed surround action in the film every so often.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen looks quite nice, with pretty good fleshtones and decent black levels which provide a good contrast. It’s replicated quite well.
Well, you’ve got the rated version, the unrated version, and this disc, which is the unrated version and has a second disc full of decent bonus material, including a commentary with Rogen, Goldberg, Apatow, Cera, Hill, Mintz-Plasse and Mottola. The track is pretty good, as Hill bristles at the fact that Apatow brought his nine-year old daughter with him, because Hill wasn’t allowed to swear, but after some poking and prodding, Apatow decides to bail on the track about halfway in. But it winds up being a track that doesn’t focus too much on the production and winds up being one where everyone jokes around and on each other sometimes, and is worth checking out. Some deleted and extended scenes are next, lasting about ten minutes and aren’t really all that hilarious. A gag reel that is also disappointing is next, but the “Line-o-Rama” section where Hill and others recite some alternate lines follow and is slightly better. Hader and Rogen’s cop roles are given some time on their own, as people like Apatow, Jane Lynch (The 40 Year Old Virgin), Craig Robinson (Knocked Up) and a few other people, as they ad lib with Hader and Rogen. Some of them are unendurable, but there are some other ones that are kind of funny and well worth checking out. A making of featurette is next, which is fifteen minutes of cast and crew interviews on set and everyone talks about their thoughts of the film. A couple of table reads of the script are the unique inclusions, with Rogen reading the role of Seth way back in 2002, but then the proper cast comes together in 2006 to go over the script as well. It’s cute to include, but only worth looking at for the first minute or so. Along the same lines there’s audition footage of the stars that’s OK but not worth camping out on. A film called Pineapple Express with Rogen and James Franco (Spider Man 3) is included, or more to the point, a four minute scene where Rogen and Franco talk about and smoke marijuana is here, and is only remotely funny, if it wasn’t so friggin’ long. Some footage of a press junket meltdown Hill has over being asked the same question for the 47th time is next, and I think it was a goof, but I could be wrong. There’s some on-set diaries on the production that are quite Hill-intensive and somewhat funny, but kind of blah-ish. “Everyone Hates Michael Cera” is a bit on Cera talking about life on set, with the cast members openly disliking him to his very oblivious nature. It’s surprisingly funny, all things considered. “The Music of Superbad” is a look at Collins’ musical contribution to the film, and it’s a pleasant look at Bootsy. “The Vag-Tastic Voyage” is a full-length (well, one minute) look at the website that the boys look at early in the film. Cera shares several messages that he received from Hill before and during the production, while in another piece, Hill gets tormented by a snake handler just before the production.
Anyone under 35 owes it to themselves to check out Superbad, as it’s a comfortable throw back to their own high school days and is chock full of fun. The technical stuff is decent and the extras are pretty ample, some of which are fairly humorous, and if you liked the film you should definitely pick this puppy up.