‘Su­per­bad’ fails to im­press

The Covington News - - NEWTON @ PLAY -

While “Su­per­bad” does not live up to its name, nei­ther does it truly dis­tin­guish it­self from many other high school com­ing of age movies.

A col­lab­o­ra­tion of pro­ducer Judd Apa­tow and stars Seth Ro­gen and Jonah Hill, the men be­hind smash hits “The 40Year-Old Vir­gin” and “Knocked Up,” “Su­per­bad” fea­tures the tal­ent to be a much bet­ter film. While very funny at times, it ul­ti­mately fal­ters on many of the points that made the ac­tors and writ­ers’ pre­vi­ous ef­forts so good.

Seth (Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are mis­fit best friends two weeks away from high school grad­u­a­tion. Sit­u­ated on the fringe of the cool crowd, the pair are nei­ther shunned nor to­tally ac­cepted by many of their class­mates.

Seth has only one goal be­fore col­lege: for both he and Evan to lose their vir­gin­ity. So when they are in­vited by Jules (Emma Stone) to a blowout grad­u­a­tion party, Seth sees a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to get a hot girl drunk and be­come “that mis­take.”

Af­ter the party in­vite, Seth is wran­gled into buy­ing the party’s al­co­hol with the help of his friend Fo­gell (Christo­pher Mintz-Plasse) who has a fake ID. Only af­ter agree­ing, does Seth ac­tu­ally see Fo­gell’s fake ID, which looks per­fectly le­git­i­mate ex­cept for the name: McLovin. Backed into a cor­ner, the trio has no choice but to pro­ceed with their plan and use the ob­vi­ously fake li­cense.

Fo­gell ends up get­ting a ride in the back of a po­lice car with two very clue­less of­fi­cers (Ro­gen and Bill Hader). Mon­ey­less and run­ning out of time, Seth and Evan pro­ceed on a dan­ger­ous and oc­ca­sion­ally funny trek across the city in pur­suit of al­co­hol. Along the way, the friends must also deal with the fact that they are mov­ing to dif­fer­ent col­leges, which is, in the end, the movies down­fall.

“Su­per­bad” is a movie stuck in the mid­dle. At its very core, it is a story about two friends fac­ing sep­a­ra­tion for the first time and their dif­fer­ent re­ac­tions to the emo­tions that ac­com­pany grow­ing up. But it is also a gross-out com­edy about high school boys and their need for sex.

Apa­tow and Ro­gen are nor­mally ge­niuses at walk­ing that very thin line that joins two such ideas, but in “Su­per­bad,” for the first time, they fal­ter. In this in­stant, they would have been much bet­ter off go­ing all the way one way or an­ther.

Any­one who has had to move away from best friends can re­late to the emo­tions Seth and Evan ex­pe­ri­ence, but those emo­tions are never ex­plored enough to make the au­di­ence care. They both come off as peo­ple you re­ally don’t like and don’t want to see suc­ceed.

Strangely, McLovin and his cop pals are the only char­ac­ters you ever con­nect with. McLovin is be­liev­able as the low man on the totem pole, barely cool enough to hang­out with Seth and Evan. You can un­der­stand the rea­sons for his ac­tions. And though McLovin’s story is ab­surd, it also by far the fun­ni­est with Mintz-Plasse, Ro­gen and Hader get­ting gut bust­ing laughs from the au­di­ence.

Crude to an ex­treme, “Su­per­bad” is good for a few quick, mean­ing­less laughs, but noth­ing more. Des­tined to have a cult fol­low­ing in high school and col­lege, “Su­per­bad” is not aw­ful, nor is it as good as it could be. For the first time, fun­ny­men Apa­tow and Ro­gen fail to get it com­pletely right. Years from now, they may look back on “Su­per­bad” as “that mis­take.”

Rat­ing: C+

Sony Pic­tures

Awk­ward: Jon­nah Hill and Michael Cera star as so­cially-chal­lenged teens on a mis­sion in “Su­per­bad.”

Tyler Smith

Film Critic

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