Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Superbad (15)

A younger, geekier cousin of Knocked Up, the teen comedy Superbad is co-written by the former's tubby hero Seth Rogen, the clown prince of uninhibited bawdiness.

It even has a tubby hero named Seth, played here by Jonah Hill, who looks like a young Chris Penn and talks like a borderline Tourette's sufferer.

Seth and his two friends Evan (Michael Cera) and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) have agreed to supply the booze for a party thrown by a Very Hot Girl, the obstacle to this plan being the outrageously fake ID that Fogell has acquired to procure the alcohol: why did he have to choose a name like "McLovin" for a bogus licence?

This is merely the first in a sequence of comic mishaps to befall the trio on their roundabout route to the party. Hill and Cera are oddly sweet as the two best friends, anxious at the prospect of separation – they're going to different colleges – and desperate about their lack of sexual know-how.

The observation of their insecurity and antagonism is very accurate; my problem is that it's not all that funny. It's striking how quickly the shock tactic of potty-mouthed, premier-crude teenspeak can pall: after an hour or so of dick jokes, semen jokes and even menstrual-blood jokes I was ready to exit the playground.

Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen are both real talents, but the films that might showcase them aren't there yet.

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