In an era of political correctness, “Superbad” is a refreshing change of pace - a comedy that practically soaks itself in anti-PC situations. This teen comedy is like watching a weird hybrid of John Hughes and the Farrelly Brothers - full of plenty of gross-out moments and laughs, but smart enough to have a pulse on what it's like to be a teenager.
“Superbad” follows a pair of high school seniors, Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), lifelong friends who are about to go to different colleges.
The boys haven't been part of the in-crowd, but have one last chance when they agree to provide alcohol for a graduation party.
Their initial plan is to have a mutual friend named Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) use his new fake ID - claiming he is a 25-year-old named McLovin - to get the alcohol.
When that plan doesn't go as smoothly as they had hoped, Seth and Evan set out on a quest to correct the situation and get to the party so they can both get the girls of their dreams.
“Superbad” was written by Seth Rogan (the star of the summer's funniest film “Knocked Up”) and Evan Goldberg. It's a smart screenplay full of laughs, but with a soft side as well. This film does feel a lot like “Knocked Up,” capable of balancing some rather disgusting humor with a sweet-natured conclusion that makes the audience realize how much they care about the characters.
Hill and Cera work well together, but the real star is Mintz-Plasse. The scenes where his character gets involved with a couple of inept cops (played by Rogan and Bill Hader) are as funny as anything in any other movie this year (including “Knocked Up”).
“Superbad” does kind of lag, especially in the middle third of the film, but there are enough laughs to make it worth your time. It may not be super good, but it is good enough - especially if you compare it to recent releases like “Hot Rod” and “Daddy Day Camp.”
DVD dandy of the week
This week's dandy is “Fracture” (B-) - an entertaining enough courtroom drama that works largely due to its star power. The film's stars Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling go at each other with so much gusto that their performances bring a lot of fun to material that is actually quite preposterous if you stop and think about it.
Gosling plays Willy Beachum, a hot shot assistant district attorney about to make a move to a plush private firm. Before he leaves, Beachum agrees to take one final case that appears to be a slam dunk - a wealthy man named Ted Crawford (Hopkins) is accused of trying to murder his wife after he found out she was having an affair.
While the case appears to be airtight, complete with a signed confession, the evidence begins to unravel and Beachum becomes immersed in a psychological game of cat and mouse with Crawford.
The Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers script has plenty of flaws, including a resolution that I believe is legally impossible, but director Gregory Hoblit (who also did the underrated 1996 courtroom drama “Primal Fear”) is able to maneuver the material into a rather believable-looking film.
Of course Hoblit gets a huge assist from his two leads. When the two actors are on the screen together, “Fracture” sizzles.
Hopkins is channeling his Hannibal Lecter days, but in an entertaining way, while Gosling perfectly embodies the hotshot arrogance of his character, complete with a fall from grace and ultimate redemption.
Perhaps the MVP of “Fracture” should be the casting director, who has taken what was probably a mediocre film at best and, with a couple of perfect casting choices, has made it into a somewhat compelling and entertaining thriller.
“Fracture” is rated R for language and some violent content and is now available on DVD.