Thursday, August 23, 2007

Superbad is super funny

The last two weeks have been rough on me between issues at work and my son moving away to college. By Saturday night I felt exhausted both physically and mentally. I desperately needed relief. I wanted some stupid, mindless entertainment but since I’ve already read all books I've written, I decided to go to the movies instead.

I’m sure you’ve picked up on the fact that I’m not a huge fan of the super spy (except Bond) so anything with the name “Bourne” was out of the question. Rush Hour III held no allure either. But a little movie named Superbad caught my attention. I plunked down my money and was prepared to invest two hours, which I don’t usually do lightly.

The movie starts out as vulgar and then moves on to crude and classless. That’s right, I loved it. I wouldn’t recommend it because I would not take responsibility for adults hearing the language and references made by the teenaged characters in the film. But there was some endearing, realistic factor that drew me in. The film almost reminded me of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which has stood the test of time as a classic for a generation. The simple plot but well defined characters make you want to see what will happen next. At least for some viewers.

The put-downs and comebacks are a far cry from the “Your mama” jokes of my teenaged years or the “Your father looks like the Kaiser” comebacks of Paul Levine’s formative years. I doubt the dialog has much in common with Jackie’s “Bob’s your uncle” phrases or whatever the hell language they spoke in that country she was raised in. I still watch Fawlty Towers as a way to learn a second language. But Superbad’s sexually laced dialog fades into the story as the movie sprints along.

Perhaps it would be no surprise that I loved the two cops in the movie most of all. Their wild, twisted, weird view of things made me laugh from the moment they took the screen. I know the portrayal will offend some of my colleagues but if you can’t laugh at yourself then don’t laugh at others. Seth Rogan and Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader give inspired performances.

The movie is written like I was taught to write: Without regard to sensitivities. No political correctness. No effort to make it a mainstream hit. Just a quick, crude, shocking cruise through the lives of a small group of teens over the course of 36 hours.

Witty? No. Sophisticated? Definitely not. Funny to a jackass like me? Absolutely.

I'm interested in your take on this or similar movies. Post a comment or drop me an e-mail.


  1. Yeah, I'm lowbrow comedy all the way. I still laugh my butt off at the scene in Happy Gilmore where Adam Sandler takes off after Bob Barker with a golf club saying, "The price is wrong, Bob."

    Classic stuff.

    I go to movies to be entertained. Ditto for reading. If I wanted to "learn" something, I'd watch the History or the Military channel.

  2. I haven't seen the movie yet but I had pizza with a friend last night who I consider to be one of the hippest, coolest guys in the universe and also a great writer (just like you, James O) and he LOVED Superbad.

    Books, movies, whatever. I just like to laugh.

  3. I love crude and funny.

    Is there anything better than the "hair mousse" scene in "There's Something About Mary?"

  4. I just saw this with Grace, and like you loved the two cops especially. It wasn't as good overall to me as Fast Times at Ridgemont High (which I love so much I often include a sound bite of Spicoli and Mr. Hand saying "Aloha" to each other on my CD mixes), but it was a great relaxing couple of hours all the same.

  5. I am so looking forward to seeing this this weekend. These guys - Apatow, Rogen, Hill, etc - are doing some seriously funny stuff.

  6. NOTHING comes close to Fast Times at Ridgemont is truly a classic......not crass or crude, just too close to a HS experiences to which everyone could relate.


  7. I want to stress again that it's crude. I couldn't watch it with kids or parents. My brother is the olnly blood relative I could sit next too and not blush.


  8. I LOVED "There's something about Mary."