Belfast Telegraph

Superbad (15)

Good or bad, just grin and bear it

Can the team behind The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up make it a hat-trick? Noel McAdam says no

(15, 110 mins) Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Emma Stone, Michael Cera

Adolesence has always been a special state of being. Everything is, like, intense. They say things like: "I soooo hate that (fill in blank)". Sentences tend to end in "whatever." And, of course, the whole world is agin them.

So if you live with teenagers life is probably a lot more entertaining than this movie can ever hope to be.

Hot on the heels of Knocked Up comes another comedy aimed almost entirely at those trapped in the transition years.

And it's from the same camp who gave us Knocked Up all of three weeks ago, along with The 40-Year-Old Virgin and a heap of uncoming projects.

Rogen, who wrote and co-wrote 40-Year-Old Virgin and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is at the writing helm here again with his partner Evan Goldberg.

And as in Knocked Up - where the pudgy, ugly guy got the girl, permanently - this is best interpreted as the ultimate High School fantasy.

It more than ably captures the teen years' awkwardness and embarrassment as a way of life, and the hard time boys have walking the tightrope between the all-important goal of being cool while remaining consistent.

The action is set over a single day, several hours of seeming randomness, focussed entirely on the twin obsessions of partying and the things that lead to the possibility of actually having sex.

Unexpectedly invited to a get-together by the female classmates they have the hots for, our heroes gamely offer to provide the necessary lubrication, then get their geekiest mate who just happens to have the fake ID - and the money - essential to implement the plan. Cue chaos.

The angst and pain of rejection and compromise underpin eveything.

Hill appears to be acting out an earlier version of the Rogen we've already seen in Knocked Up, by turns sympathetic and shocking.

There is the usual quota of gross-out moments, including a stain on a pair of jeans which it may take you some time to forget.

Expect also a good dollop of the very politically incorrect: for example - why are women opposed to organ donors? "Even after you're dead, they want to tear your heart out." See wot I mean?

Some scenes suffer rather than being sustained, however, by more than a touch of improvisation.

And there is an apparent extreme reluctance throughout to edit, leaving, again similarly to Knocked Up, a too-long running time.

Then there are continuity issues: suddenly, reminiscent of some those ancient sci-fi 'B' movies, day turns to night.

For the most part, it's a grinner rather than a chuckler. There are some laughs, but mostly this is a smiler movie.

Rogen also appears as one of two dumb-and-dumber cops, out on a spree of their own, who have one or two hilarious sequences.

But this movie is so overtly aimed at the 15-24 age group it risks leaving the rest of us feeling more than a bit left out. Unless, of course, you want to reconnect with your inner adolescent.

Now showing at cinemas across Northern Ireland

Irish Independent


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