Superbad is a 2007 American coming-of-age teen comedy film directed by Greg Mottola and produced by Judd Apatow. The film stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as Seth and Evan, two teenagers about to graduate high school. Before graduating, the boys want to party and lose their virginity, however their plan proves harder than expected. Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the script began development when they were 13 years old, and was loosely based on their experience in Grade 12 in Vancouver during the 1990s; the main characters have the same given names as the two writers. Rogen was also initially intended to play Seth, but due to age and physical size this was changed, and Hill went on to portray Seth, while Rogen portrayed the irresponsible Officer Michaels, opposite former Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader as Officer Slater.
The film received favorable reviews, with critics praising the dialogue and the chemistry between the two leads. The film also proved financially successful, grossing $169 million on a $20 million budget.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Greg Mottola|
|Produced by||Judd Apatow|
|Written by||Seth Rogen|
|Music by||Lyle Workman|
|Edited by||William Kerr|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$169.9 million|
Seth and Evan are two high school seniors who have been best friends since childhood. The two are about to go off to different colleges. After Seth is paired with Jules during home economics class, she invites him to a party at her house that night. Their friend Fogell reveals his plans to obtain a fake ID, so Seth promises to buy alcohol for Jules' party with money she gives him. Evan runs into his crush Becca and he offers to get her some vodka for the party. Fogell's fake ID has only one name, "McLovin." Despite the slim chance of success, Fogell makes the buy, but is knocked out at the last second by a robber.
When police officers Slater and Michaels arrive, Seth and Evan believe that Fogell is being arrested. In fact, Slater and Michaels are giving Fogell a ride to the party. Seth is hit by a car being driven by a man who promises to take them to another party in exchange for them not telling the police. Seth and Evan decide to use this opportunity to get alcohol. Meanwhile, Slater and Michaels take Fogell on a ride-along and then bond with him. Despite being on duty, they start drinking, using their sirens improperly, and shooting their firearms at a stop sign. At the party, Seth fills detergent bottles from the basement with alcohol he finds in the fridge and dances with a drunk woman, while Evan is made to sing by some men high on cocaine. About to leave, Seth is confronted by the host for dancing with his fiancée. A brawl ensues. The fiancée calls the police, while Seth and Evan escape.
Evan and Seth argue, and Seth is once again hit by a car - the police cruiser driven by Slater and Michaels. They plan to arrest Seth and Evan, but when Fogell comes out of the car, Evan makes a run for it, while Seth and Fogell escape with the alcohol. Eventually all three make their way to Jules' party. At the party, Seth's stories of the night make him popular and Becca wants to have sex with Evan, but he respects her too much to do it while she is so drunk that she throws up in bed. Meanwhile, Fogell impresses Nicola and goes upstairs to have sex with her. Seth drunkenly attempts to kiss Jules, but she turns him down because she neither drinks nor wants Seth while he is drunk. Seth believes he has ruined any chance of a relationship with Jules, and passes out, accidentally headbutting her, leaving her with a black eye.
Slater and Michaels bust the party. Seth wakes up and carries an intoxicated Evan away from the party. Slater interrupts Fogell and Nicola, who runs off. Slater is angry at Fogell for ditching them, but Michaels points out they have just "cock-blocked" him, and they apologize, reconcile, and reveal they knew all along that Fogell was not 25. They played along, wanting to show cops can have fun. To make it up to him, they pretend to arrest Fogell to make him look "bad-ass". They resume their bonding, eventually destroying their car with a Molotov cocktail while Fogell shoots it with Slater's firearm.
The next morning, Seth and Evan go to the mall and run into Jules and Becca, and the men pair off with the women. Seth takes Jules to buy concealer for her bruise, while Evan and Becca leave to buy a new comforter to replace the one that Becca ruined from being sick.
The film was written by Goldberg and Rogen during their teen years. It is loosely based on their own experience as seniors in Vancouver in the late 1990s, hence the character names Seth and Evan. According to an interview at an event panel in 2009, Fogell was also a real friend of Rogen and Goldberg. Rogen was initially slated to play Hill's character Seth, but due to his physical size and age, he played one of the police officers. The film took over seven years to complete from early scripting in 2000 and filming in 2006/2007. Mintz-Plasse was only 17 at the time of filming Superbad, and as a result, his mother was required to be present on set during his sex scene.
Other notable filming locations include the convenience store at the beginning of the film, also in Culver City, the liquor store where "McLovin" gets IDed in Glendale, California, and the bar where the cops take McLovin for a drink is neighboring Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The scene where McLovin and the cops do donuts in the cop car was filmed in a parking lot on the California State University, Northridge campus.
Superbad opened at number one at the United States box office, grossing US$33,052,411 in its weekend from 2,948 theaters for an average of US$11,212 per theater. The film stayed at #1 the second week, grossing US$18,044,369.
The film grossed US$121.5 million in the United States and Canada and US$48.4 million in other countries, for a total of US$169.9 million worldwide. Compared to the budget of US$20 million, the film earned a huge financial profit, making it the highest domestic grossing high school comedy at the time (it was surpassed by 21 Jump Street, a film also starring Hill, in 2012).
Superbad received favorable reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 87% approval rating with an average rating of 7.5/10 based on 206 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 76/100 based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle called it 2007's most successful comedy. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times had the headline of his review read "McLovin It," and gave the film 31⁄2 stars (out of 4) and said "The movie reminded me a little of National Lampoon's Animal House, except that it's more mature, as all movies are." Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times said "Physically, Hill and Cera recall the classic comic duos—Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Aykroyd and Belushi. But they are contemporary kids, sophisticated and sensitive to nuance"; she added, "I hope it's not damning the movie with the wrong kind of praise to say that for a film so deliriously smutty, Superbad is supercute". Sean Burns of Philadelphia Weekly said "2007: the year Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen saved movie comedy", a reference to Knocked Up which was released in June. Devin Gordon of Newsweek said "As a Revenge of the Nerds redux, Superbad isn't perfect. But it's super close."
In a more critical vein, Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter, compared the film to other films with a single-day structure, such as American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused, but said that Superbad "doesn't have the smarts or the depths of those ensemble comedies". The Hollywood Reporter review was referenced in the film's DVD audio commentary, particularly the review's suggestion that the two main characters have a homoerotic experience similar to the film Y Tu Mamá También. Adam Graham of The Detroit News said, "the cops belong in a bad Police Academy sequel, not this movie", and also that the film "falls short of teen-classic status." Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel called the film "super-derivative", "super-raunchy", and "Freaks and Geeks: Uncensored". Moore went on to say the film shamelessly plagiarizes from films such as Can't Hardly Wait and American Graffiti. He also said, "Like Knocked Up, this is a comedy they don't know how to end. The energy flags as it overstays its welcome." Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe said the film "has a degree more sophistication than Revenge of the Nerds and American Pie, and less than the underrated House Party". Morris also said, "the few smart observations could have come from an episode of one of Apatow's TV shows" and "I wanted to find this as funny as audiences did".
Superbad was released via DVD and Blu-ray on December 4, 2007, in two versions: theatrical (113 minutes) and unrated (118 minutes). Special features include deleted scenes, an audio commentary with cast and crew, line-o-ramas (a feature most associated with Apatow films), a making-of, and a number of short featurettes.
Two tie-in books to the film were published by Newmarket Press:
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Films directed by Greg Mottola