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Empire List #487: Superbad

You have got to love a movie that, for a little while at least, leaves its mark on popular culture. When “Superbad” came out in 2007, “I am McLovin” became one of the funniest lines of the year. I even met a guy in one of my classes who kind of looked like McLovin. He liked it too and I can’t blame him: McLovin is a funny guy.

Directed by Gregg Mottola, “Superbad” is another comedy gem from the Judd Apatow’s laugh factory. Once again I had to skip this movie at the movie theatre because it was dubbed in French so I watched it on DVD in my off-campus room about six months later. It turned out to be slightly more entertaining that way since Apatow-produced DVDs are filled with extras like gag reels, bloopers, alternate stakes, behind-the-scenes, and interview with just about everyone involved in making the movie. You are not just renting a movie; you’re renting hilarious entertainment for the whole evening.

The story is pretty simple: Evan (Michael Cera) Seth (Jonah Hill) and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are about to finish high school and want to have a good time during one last big party. Seth wants to bring alcohol to the party to impress Jules (Emma Stone) his long-time crush while Evan wants to bring Goldstick vodka for his crush, Becca (Martha MacIsaac). How will they do that? Their third wheel Fogell has acquired a fake ID and will buy the booze for them at the local liquor store.

There are two things wrong with that plan. Number one: Fogell’s ID only has the name McLovin on it and says he is Hawaiian. Number two: the store gets robbed and officers Michaels (Seth Rogen) and Slater (Bill Hader) show up at the scene and take Fogell away, but they say they believe his ID is real. From that point on it is one wild night for all three boys. Evan and Seth go around town hoping to find booze but only find trouble, while Fogell is stuck with two cops who really don’t deserve to be wearing their uniforms. They drink on the job, run over people and let Fogell shoot their car while playing Van Halen’s “Panama.” Great job officers.

An interesting subplot is the fact that Evan and Seth are about to leave for separate colleges and so far have not had a frank discussion about how they feel about this. Amid their search for girls and booze the two will need a moment to reassess their friendship and ask themselves what will happen once high school is over.

It’s a question that most high school, college, and university students have to face at some point. Will you see your friends again once you graduate? Maybe, maybe not. Facebook helps you stay in contact with people who are miles away but everyone knows that’s not the same thing as hanging out with your friends on a Friday night.

The film’s writers, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, obviously know what they are talking about since the movie is based on their own childhood experiences and the two main characters share their first names. This is probably why Rogen and Hader play these two cops. I am sure that when they were that age, Seth and Evan would have really liked to meet police officers who would have arrested them in front of all of their friends just to make them more popular.

It’s pretty impressive to see how far most of the cast members have gone in the few years since the film was released. Seth Rogen will be playing superhero in “The Green Hornet,” Michael Cera kicked ass in “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” Emma Stone shot a bunch of zombies in “Zombieland,” Jonah Hill continues to be excellent in Judd Apatow movies such as “Get Him to the Greek,” and McLovin has turned into the villain Red Mist in “Kick-Ass.” Impressive resumes.

I wish I could have seen “Superbad” on the big screen with a packed room. I love the sound of an audience laughing at a great comedy from beginning to end. It’s a rare thing these days. Keep them coming Mr. Apatow.

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