Monday, September 03, 2007


Next to my appreciation of telenovelas, infomercials, and Shannon Tweed late night flicks, I'm probably one of the world's oldest fans of teenage sex comedies, although few of them really have much actual sex. I've thought for years that "The Sure Thing" was one of the best movies ever made, seen "Mean Girls" three times, thought Kate Bosworth was as painfully miscast in "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton" as in "Superman Returns," and had the words "One time, at band camp. . . " appear randomly in my head on a fairly periodic basis. So, when "Superbad" came out with the great reviews, by the same guys who did "Knocked Up," well, had to go.

It was good. Not something I'll buy the video of to go next to "Say Anything," but good. I usually go to these things by myself (but I get looked at funny) or with The Boy, but this time The Wife went with me. The Boy and I have long classified movies as those we'd take Mom to and those we wouldn't. This was a "wouldn't," although she was a good sport about it (I thought, since she liked "Knocked Up," she'd give this a pass). She doesn't like loud people, cussing people, or gross people. And that's about what the first half hour is. Well, actually, most of the movie until the end. But it's definitely a movie The Boy and I would have attended satisfactorily.

The story line is straight from teen comedy land, as are the leads. Two nerds, one fat and squat, one skinny and tall, friends forever, senior year, last chance to score with their crushes, facing their own "breakup" as they look at different colleges after summer. Along with an uber-geeky sidekick who manages to get a fake id and then only puts one name on it, they have the adventure of their lives over one night just before graduation. Most of the conventions, including the school bullies, humiliation, threats of beatings, plenty of puke, cute girls with cuter bodies.

But that's where the movie actually turns most teen comedies on their heads. Very little is done conventionally with these conventions. The inevitable liquor store clerk is a tough-looking young black woman who ends up being a veterinary student. The cops who dominate the second half of the movies aren't hardassess, but party animals. (I found them one of the weaker parts of the movie, but The Wife liked them so to each his/her own on this point.) The love story isn't between the boys and their crushes, but the heroes themselves (but not to the "Brokeback" point). The requisite striptease is funnier than sexy and ends up sad and bare boob-less. And most and best of all, the girls are not your conventional teen movie chicks, not even "hot" so much as wholesome. These are two girls you as a nerd yourself might even be lucky enough to have a chance with, so you can believe that the two knuckleheaded leads might have a chance, too. The "smart" one ends up being the stupidest, and the "party" one ends up not even being a drinker. And the ending with them and the leads is believable and warm, even as it brings touching closure to the point of the whole movie. One of the key things in a genuinely good movie is how well it lands the dismount, how well it completes everything that the performance previously provided. "Superbad" surely gets at least 5.8s and 5.9s, except for that damn Czech judge.

Will this be the classic that other reviews and box office totals have indicated? I liked it better than "American Pie" and it's much deeper than "Porky's." (Ever thought you'd hear "deeper" and "Porky's" in the same sentence?) It's not "The Sure Thing" or "Say Anything" but they had Cusack. If you like bodily fluids (did I mention the menstrual blood?), nerds winning, and love (between friends as well as between genders), then you'll get what you want here. If you haven't seen it, it's definitely worth . . . wait. Random words coming in. "One time, at band camp . . . ."

Add to Technorati Favorites