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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Superbad (review)

Seth and Evan’s Stupid Adventure

Actor Seth “Knocked Up” Rogen and his best friend from childhood, Evan Goldberg, wrote the script for Superbad when they were 13 years old. And they are proud of this. They are so proud of this that their protagonists are named “Seth” and “Evan.” What’s more, Rogen’s entree into the Hollywood elite — as a writer/actor — came about because, he says, “it became clear I wasn’t going to graduate high school, so I needed some kind of avenue of making money for myself.”

This is why Hollywood mostly sucks: Corporate movies are getting made from scripts written by 13-year-olds who went on to drop out of high school.
Movies about horny teenagers? Fine. Being a horny teenager is a human experience common to everyone, male and female alike. (Though of course the corporate films, including this one, barely acknowledge female sexuality at all, except in negative ways, never mind adolescent female sexuality. But that’s a whole nother rant.) See Y Tu Mama Tambien, for one. Or American Graffiti, for another. Or Dazed and Confused, for a third.

Superbad is not fit to lick the boots of those movies. Superbad isn’t fit to lick the boots of the movies that are fit to lick the boots of those movies. Because this is a movie written by horny teenagers who think their horniness is clever or unique or even vaguely interesting. Who have no perspective on that adolescent experience, still being caught in the awful throes of it. (No, no, I shan’t listen to suggestions that the script went through any polishes between the time it left the grubby 13-year-old psyches of Rogen and Goldberg and the time shooting began — my mind cannot even comprehend that it could have been any more juvenile than it currently is.) This movie is fit only, perhaps, for other horny 13-year-old boys who haven’t yet gotten over their mortification of their own bodies or at the fluids bodies male and female produce in the natural course of being human, and “worse,” the natural course of being sexual creatures. Oh, the semen jokes are, of course, de rigueur and copious, but Superbad achieves a new low in gross-out humor: an extended menstrual-blood “joke.”

One must wonder how these boys manage to hold the simultaneous thoughts in their heads, that hot chicks are, well, hot and there to be totally fuckable and possibly also actually fucked by them, and also that girls are gross and disgusting and untouchable and that no greater indignity can be imagined than getting a bit of period blood on you. Only 13-year-old boys — or those eternally 13 — could possibly endure the nonstop barrage of male adolescent fear of sex, of women, that is Superbad. Oh, and don’t demonstrate the slightest bit of affection for male friends, either. That’s so gay.

It all goes on for very close to two excruciating hours, as Seth (Jonah Hill: Evan Almighty, Accepted), an angry unpleasant moron, and his best friend, Evan (Michael Cera), a sweet but pathologically shy dork, spend an afternoon trying to buy booze for a high-school party to impress Jules (Emma Stone), a ridiculously hot babe Seth actually thinks he has a chance with. That the movie suggests that he really does puts this smack in the realm of high fantasy… or 13-year-old wishful thinking. Their pal, Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), owner of a fake ID that dubs him “McLovin” — a joke that gets stretched out way past its expiration date — gets sidetracked in the booze-buying effort and ends up spending the evening with a couple of terrifying cops (one of which is played by Rogen) who are supposed to be funny but instead serve as evidence that some legal adults who are male aren’t, in fact, men.

But that’s fine, I guess, because most of the movie is one big sidetrack: it’s all just a skeleton upon which to hang pointlessly filthy dialogue like Seth’s “I am truly jealous you got to suck on those tits when you were a baby” (about Evan’s mother) and “She looks like she can take a dick.” That’s Seth again, and yes, I know that boys trash-talk like this, cluelessly pondering those great mysteries of women’s bodies, and of adult life in general. What is disturbing in the extreme about this — about the entirety of Superbad, particularly in the fact that is being marketed to adults — is that it suggests that these mysteries have yet to be solved, or even broached, by anyone involved in making this movie, and must be unbroached by the audience, as well, for maximum enjoyment. Or, indeed, at enjoyment at all.


MPAA: rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content, strong language, drinking, some drug use and a fantasy/comic violent image

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
  • Chris

    Oh, the semen jokes are, of course, de rigueur and copious, but Superbad achieves a new low in gross-out humor: an extended menstrual-blood “joke.”

    Unless it is even more extended than what I can imagine, this was not a new low. Jenny McCarthy explored this territory in her dark gross-out comedy, Dirty Love. In Dirty Love there an extended joke about her having to buy tampons and pads because they were out at her apartment. And, I mean extended.

  • MaryAnn

    Oh, I’m so glad I never saw that.

  • bill

    this review is superbad i disagree with everything you said
    this movie is all about teenage male humor and coming of age. Since the reviewer is a female she would know nothing about it unless of course she is a dude. How can you give movies like stardust a good review and crap all over this moive and knocked up

  • tom

    I can imagine that this movie will be quite offensive to a lot of people, but it will make money and thats all that really matters for a movie.

  • Benjamin

    Dear Post-Feminist Alcoholics,

    I think it’s time to put down the wine and recognize that not everyone is an uptight middle-aged woman. I know it’s hard to realize that their is different world out there, a world that consists of penises as well as vaginas, but within this world men often act immaturely and juvenile. Men are slobs, and we do think about sex, a lot (in fact I’m touching myself right now). Women have to understand that they will never comprehend what it is like to be an adolescent male. If the juvenile behavior in “Superbad” upset you, god forbid you ever peek into the real lives of men. I don’t care if you are the mother of 5 boys and you swear every single one of them is a saint, I assure you one of your boys is probably circle jerking with his friends. We are crude and rude, that is what makes us adolescent, and I have news for you, it doesn’t end at 13 or 25 or 55. Men are men, and we act immature around one another because it relieves the stress of dealing with uptight broads that have nothing better to do than piss and moan about how we fail to live up to their freaking standards.

    Love you,

    Benji

  • william shakespear

    Men think about sex, and while some act with authenticity others expend much energy dealing
    with feelings impotence. Where women who suffer
    anxieties about attractiveness go shopping, men
    feeling impotent make war or ‘green-light’
    stupid movies.

  • Chris

    Wow, I dont even see what you saw wrong with the movie, all I see is that you dont get the idea that sometimes it’s fun to be crude. I dont know what you see when you see a Judd Apatow movie or in this case a movie written by a Judd Apatow apprentice, but as a male in his mid 20’s I can say that the humor in this movie, as well as Knock Up, hits a chord with the average American male. Truth is most of us were the shy geeks in high school and we wanted what these two characters wanted, popularity and a chance with a beatiful girl. Others of us can relate to Knocked Up’s characters as I have seen both, men who knock up women they should never have a chance with and men who marry the wrong woman just because they knocked them up. I feel in both movies though, the one thing that gets us is that these characters feel somewhat real. Maybe not their experinces but the characters themself are closer to the real thing than most directors seem to be able to conjure up in films each year. But what can I say you apparently still find Mr. Bean funny, hate Ryan Gosling, think i shouldnt see Live Free or Die Hard in the theater and found the worst reviewed Eric Bana movie (29% fresh) to be a cant miss flick.

  • amanohyo

    Dear Benjamin,
    Read the review again. MaryAnn knows that some men can be immature slobs. She knows that adolescent boys and girls are horny. It’s just that this movie holds up the adolescent mindset as if it was the final frontier of mental development, and you seem to agree.

    But I have some shocking news for you, adolescence ends for a lot of men. It ended for me and my friends in our early twenties (a little late, I know). There’s nothing wrong with occasionally acting silly or joking around with your buddies, but this is a movie ONLY about being a horny teenager written by horny teenagers, and as the review clearly states, the only way to enjoy it is to either be a teenager yourself or somehow forget that you have already solved all of the confounding mysteries of sexuality that the film holds up like profound bits of timeless wisdom.

    Speaking of mysteries, I don’t pretend to speak for all men as you do, but I had no idea what a circle jerk was until I was well out of college. I know a lot of men AND women who are someitmes “crude and rude,” and they are definitely not adolescents. Conversely, my friends and I were rarely crude and rude when we were hanging out as teens, although I admit that we seeemed to be exceptions.

    As for “uptight broads,” you should be thankful that a woman actually cares about you enough to hold you up to any standards. If you honestly feel those standards are unrealistic, how about, you know, actually having a conversation about it with her instead of bottling it up and then letting off steam by letting your inner adolescent take over? You might discover that she has a point and that it’s time to finally grow up, a process that you and Mr. Rogan seem to have avoided for a long time.

  • MaryAnn

    The fact that some of these commenters don’t think I know any real men only proves my point: that many adult males are not, in fact, men themselves. They’re the ones who don’t know any real men.

  • Joe

    I have a bad feeling this comment section is going to get even hairier than the Knocked Up one! MaryAnne, put on your absestose suit!! I am concerned for you!

  • MBI

    “are supposed to be funny but instead serve as evidence that some legal adults who are male aren’t, in fact, men.”

    Can’t it be both?

    I stand by my snap-judgment that Superbad looks great and I’m going to love it. However, I will note that I saw the R-rated trailer for Superbad last night, and it made it seem both more funny (“Oh shit, the cops!”) and less funny (bad words are hilarious, apparently).

  • jose

    Clearly, the reviewer doesn’t know sh!t.

  • D

    You’re shrill.

    P.S. What exactly does your hallowed real manliness consist of?

  • MaryAnn, you’re ready for your e-mail to turn into a river of flame yet again, right? ;-)

  • MaryAnn

    The aggression and misogyny of some of these commenters is really quite fascinating, from a sociological perspective. What could possibly be so threatening about a negative review of a movie?

    What exactly does your hallowed real manliness consist of?

    “My” “hallowed real manliness”? Oh, boy. As if I invented the idea of genuine adulthood…

  • zoetree

    Interesting how some feel the need to defend so heatedly and crudely the most boring and ignorant characteristics boys and men can possess. Men need to give themselves more credit and not waste so much of their energy watching and defending movies that put them in the worst light.

  • J

    It’s okay to not like this movie, but this reviewer’s reasons make me think she’s not fit to be a film critic. I’m going to guess that she loved the movie “Crash”, where the intentions where spelled out and the viewer was beaten over the head with the message.

    People, these are high school kids. Of COURSE they’re crude! Believe me when I tell you that kids in high school talk like this. They’re not mature enough to truly understand love and sex. They’ve never experienced it, so how could they?

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the characters aren’t mature, that the movie isn’t either. You need to differentiate the two before you can truly appreciate it. The jokes don’t need to be subtle in order for the movie to be. Just like the previous Apatow pictures, you have truly missed the boat…

  • amanohyo

    I know it’s wrong, but I love these comment threads sooo much. You know those scenes in corny kung fu movies from the 70’s where dozens of badguys show up at the heroine’s (usually Cheng Pei Pei) hometown and they attack one at a time only to be defeated almost effortlessly? I always get a big goofy smile when I watch those scenes. Anyway, these threads are analogous, and MA is the kung fu master of the written word.

  • Dave

    Look, there is no reason to attack this reviewer’s personality or her opinion of men. She obviously has respect for both men and women and she said nothing particularly offensive. In fact, she has some very valid points about the contradictions inherent in our culture vis a vis sexuality and love. On the other hand, perhaps she could loosen up a bit. It sounds like this movie is much more along the lines of Porky’s than it is of Dazed and Confused. So be it.

  • Dave

    Look, there is no reason to attack this reviewer’s personality or her opinion of men. She obviously has respect for both men and women and she said nothing particularly offensive. In fact, she has some very valid points about the contradictions inherent in our culture vis a vis sexuality and love. On the other hand, perhaps she could loosen up a bit. It sounds like this movie is much more along the lines of Porky’s than it is of Dazed and Confused. So be it.

  • Fuggle

    “People, these are high school kids. Of COURSE they’re crude! Believe me when I tell you that kids in high school talk like this. They’re not mature enough to truly understand love and sex. They’ve never experienced it, so how could they?”

    I think the point is far less /that/, and far more that it takes what they are, and celebrates it not only as the way for teenagers to be (which is bad enough), but then goes on to say that it’s somewhat preferable /to/ “growing up”.

  • Moe

    As a 21 year old straight guy, I think the “horny teen sex comedy” genre has been monopolized by horny guys for too long. I’m actually wondering what would be the female equilvalent of this? Think about it…when was the last time a movie came out that delt with the female perspective of being horny and yearning for that first sexual experience?

    I haven’t seen Superbad yet but i can tell i’m gonna like it just like i did the other two Apatow’s movies. I just find it sad that women can’t find movies liek this that they can relate to as well as guys do. :(

  • Moe

    Seems like there a new trend emerging.
    Apatow makes a comedy that gets 90%+ on rottentomatoes which MaryAnne hates which gets her 200+ comments.

    I look forward to this again in The Pineapple Express in ’08.

  • Jesse

    I like how the commenters seem convinced that women just can’t understand men and why this would be funny, and then berate MaryAnne for not transcending the perspective they have forced upon her.

    Oh, and another thing: I don’t buy that for a second.

    I’m a guy, and can relate to women, and can have women relate to me. Superbad and Knocked Up and even the 40 Year-Old Virign do nothing but make the line between genders as big as they possibly can.

    Yet, when MaryAnne claims in a review that women are NOT, in fact, some secretive coven that meets once a week to decide how best to aggravate the men they love to be oppressed by, or that the sexual development of all men can’t be universally covered over two hours of cum jokes and boob shots, the men who pity her alleged ignorance lash out.

  • Parad1gm

    Wow… soccer mom rage is strong with you. This is exactly what it was like to be an 18 year old senior male about to graduate high school. Every other film you mentioned presented a grossly idealized high school experience. There was no connection. I’m sorry highschool was a painful experience for you. But that’s what it was for many of us, and I personally like it when a movie connects with me. When a movie is accessible. Pretension isn’t a luxury people with real lives get to have. So go have fun at your planned community association meeting, clicking your tongues at the new family who painted their door that GODAWFUL color of brown. I hope that stick works it’s way out of your rectum.

  • misterb

    MaryAnn,

    In general, my tastes agree with yours on the geek movies, not so much on the chick flicks. For all the Seth Rogen movies, your reviews seem to be exclusively from the “chick” side; however, Seth seems mighty geeky to me. Perhaps there is a difference between the way guy geeks and girl geeks deal with geekitude. For the guys, there is an indivisible part of geekiness that is about rejection by the opposite sex, and movies that recognize that help with the pain of being considered undateable due to enjoying sci-fi. Perhaps the real men you know aren’t real geeks – do they wear Klingon ears in public?

  • Benjamin

    Dear Amanohyo,

    Firstly, I must apologize to Maryann for making a heated and unnecessary attack at her review of Superbad. My response was a bit callous and tactless, however, I still stand by its underlying message.

    In your response to my first post you argued that this movie “holds up the adolescent mindset as if it was the final frontier of mental development.” While Superbad certainly highlights the adolescent mindset, I don’t think it has the intention or depth to argue that male adolescence is the be all and end all. I am well aware that I am contradicting my first post, chalk that up to heat of the moment frustration, but we have to consider the fact that Apatow produces, writes and directs movies that highlight and exaggerate the awkward moments in male adolescence. This is a movie that follows TWO BOYS in HIGH SCHOOL, a place where awkwardness and immaturity are found around every corner. Assuming Rogen and Apatow embarked upon the same film and eliminated the language and sexual immaturity, we can safely assume the film would flop. The reason these films are popular is not due to the fact that they highlight fart jokes and strong language, but because Rogen and Apatow found a way to exaggerate and display the awkward and uncomfortable moments’ men AND WOMEN experience while growing up. Both Apatow and Rogen found formula for comedy that resonates heavily with us all, whether we are adolescent or just reminiscing about our own adolescence. My hope is that everyone takes the time to sit down and watch this movie and remember what it was like to be a kid, if only for two hours.

    Love You,

    Benji

  • david

    if you use “shan’t” in a review of any non-self-proclaimed art film, your review becomes immediately discredited.

  • Li

    MA isn’t the only reviewer being attacked for her Superbad review. Slate’s reviewer is being raked over the coals and her review was much more positive. Very interesting how some men are freaking out over any criticism of the Apatow crew.

    http://fray.slate.com/discuss/forums/3184/ShowForum.aspx?ArticleID=2172339

  • Giles

    Admit it MaryAnne, you already decided that “Superbad” was going to be a “Skip It” film long before you sat down in the theater. In fact, you could have written this review a month ago without actually having seen the film and it would probably have been the same. Word for word.

  • JoshDM

    I fear this is goodbye, MAJ.

    Our tastes have been diverging for at least a year or more, and I just can’t seem to agree with your opinions. It’s not just the recent Apataw-fueled productions, but other flicks as well.

    Don’t bother seeing the classic “Kentucky Fried Movie”; you’d probably be disappointed with it’s juvenile humor.

  • Puppetbrain

    Wow, bitter really suits you.

  • Drave

    Oh, all these little boys trying to “let you in” on this boy’s club. Speaking as someone who has been a nerd or a geek all his life, I can tell you that this movie is IN NO WAY representative of my teenage experience, or that of any single person I was friends with. You know who did act like the kids in this movie when I was growing up? The jocks. That’s it. In related news, MaryAnn, you are my personal hero for having the ability to deal so gracefully with such overpowering stupidity.

  • JT

    Admit it MaryAnne, you already decided that “Superbad” was going to be a “Skip It” film long before you sat down in the theater. In fact, you could have written this review a month ago without actually having seen the film and it would probably have been the same. Word for word.

    Fuckin’ A.

  • DR

    MA,
    What is your idea of a “real man”?

  • Billy

    I’m a 25 year old high school teacher who saw this movie along with a 24 year old police officer, a 25 year old EMT worker and a 28 year old computer technician. Guess what? We all laughed our asses off the entire time! Get that stick out of tight, pruney ass and get over it – everyone has different tastes in comedy. Quit being so condescending and calm down. Just because someone liked this movie doesn’t mean you’re better than them. Not everyone goes to cheese tasting parties once we hit our 20s and 30s. Some of us still enjoy a good dick and fart joke.

  • amanohyo

    “Get that stick out of [your] tight, pruney ass and get over it – everyone has different tastes in comedy… Quit being so condescending and calm down.”

    Oh the irony.

    You shouldn’t pidgeonhole cheese-tasting parties either. My mother in law got drunk at one and told some hilarious dick and fart jokes… well, hilarious if you’re drunk and full of cheese. They were at least as funny as the ones in this movie.

  • MaryAnn

    Favorite comments so far:

    It’s okay to not like this movie, but this reviewer’s reasons make me think she’s not fit to be a film critic.

    Not “fit”? Why, it’s true! Just last month I failed to pass my Film Critic’s License renewal test at the Bureau of Approval Cultural Commentary.

    Wow… soccer mom rage is strong with you…. Pretension isn’t a luxury people with real lives get to have. So go have fun at your planned community association meeting, clicking your tongues at the new family who painted their door that GODAWFUL color of brown.

    Wow… I had no idea single atheist urban starving writers could be classified as “soccer moms.” You learn something new every day.

    if you use “shan’t” in a review of any non-self-proclaimed art film, your review becomes immediately discredited.

    If you missed the intentional irony of the use of an extended-pinkie word like “shan’t” in a review of a movie that licks a toilet like this one does, your criticism of my criticism is immediately discredited.

    Wow, bitter really suits you.

    Interesting, how a negative review of a stupid film must automatically make me “bitter”…

    What is your idea of a “real man”?

    Dude, if you need to ask…

    And a few that actually deserve a response:

    Rogen and Apatow found a way to exaggerate and display the awkward and uncomfortable moments’ men AND WOMEN experience while growing up.

    Really? In what way does this film even approach touching on women’s experience in adolescence?

    And for the record: Apatow did not write or direct *Superbad.*

    Your reviews seem to be exclusively from the “chick” side… Perhaps the real men you know aren’t real geeks

    My reviews are exclusively from the MaryAnn side: and in fact, my tastes in film tend to be more “guy” than “gal” — I like action and science fiction way more than romantic comedy, for instance, and will put up with more bullshit from an action movie than I will from a rom-com. I’m not objecting to *Superbad* particularly from a “chick” perspective, but from a perspective of sophistication and intelligence that this movie cannot approach. And I grant that the movie IS NOT TRYING to be smart and sophisticated. Part of what I’m railing against — as I did with *Knocked Up* — is the idea that not-smart and not-sophisticated is an okay place for American culture to be at. It may well be there, but we shouldn’t be proud of that.

    And yes, actually, some of the real men I know are geeks, to varying degrees. I think being a geek in adolescence, to a certain degree, teaches people, boys and girls alike, that conformity is not necessarily the best thing to aspire to, that being yourself is better. When I talk about “being an adult,” I’m talking about things like living your life the way you want to live it, whether that gets a stamp of approval from society or not; having the confidence to be your own person, not conforming to what you think other people want from you; a certain level of education and the wit and intelligence to incorporate a larger perspective into your self-awareness; stuff like that.

    I know some of the commenters above, especially the ones who are asking me what my idea of a “real man” is, are waiting for me to admit that I’m really just a shallow chick who thinks a “real man” drives a fancy car and smoke cigars and probably throws a lot of money around trying to impress people. And that’s not what I’m talking about AT ALL. All the bullshit trappings that supposedly signify adulthood in our culture are, for many people (in my experience), the ONLY things they take to signify adulthood. (See: *Knocked Up,* which assumes that having a baby is what “forces” you to “grow up.”) When I mentioned “education” above, I don’t necessary mean “a fancy degree from an Ivy League school,” either: I’ve know plenty of people with advanced degrees who were shockingly ignorant about literature or history, basic stuff that anyone who went to high school should know. But of course we don’t teach much to our kids in high school, either. I think most of the “real adults” I know would agree with Mark Twain when he said that he never let his schooling interfere with his education.

    There’s nothing I would say describes my idea of a “real man” that I would not also say describes a “real woman”: I’m talking about what I think a grownup is, and it has nothing to do with wearing the “right” clothes, living in the “right” place, making the “right” amount of money, or anything like that. It’s about what goes on in your head and how you interact with other people. It’s about approaching what you do with passion and gusto, staying engaged with the world beyond yourself. It’s about being curious and open to new experiences.

    So yes, all those things can apply to geeks, but I’ve met plenty of self-described geeks who are conformist in their own way, or are shut off the new experiences. On the other hand, there are people who could not fairly be described as geeky who are real grownups, too.

  • Ken

    What I find particularly interesting is that most of the comments here—not all, but most—that are well written and somewhat analytical seem to agree with the review, while those that disagree tend to be some variation on the simplistic “I liked it. You suck.” One must wonder whether the latter group even bothered to read the review, or if the most that they could comprehend was the “Skip it” icon.

    From the review:

    Movies about horny teenagers? Fine. Being a horny teenager is a human experience common to everyone, male and female alike.

    See? MaryAnn is not issuing a blanket condemnation of movies about teen sexuality. And while the characters and dialogue may be a more or less accurate representation of teen life:

    I know that boys trash-talk like this, cluelessly pondering those great mysteries of women’s bodies, and of adult life in general. What is disturbing in the extreme about this — about the entirety of Superbad, particularly in the fact that is being marketed to adults — is that it suggests that these mysteries have yet to be solved, or even broached, by anyone involved in making this movie, and must be unbroached by the audience, as well, for maximum enjoyment. Or, indeed, at enjoyment at all.

    Or, to keep it simple for the humanoids, it’s not the content that’s the problem as much as it is the attitude towards the content (the same concept people didn’t seem to grab when commenting on the Knocked Up review).

  • Moe

    I think a lot of people are angry that MaryAnne suggested that only the immature or “those eternally 13” could possibly enjoy this movie. Humour is probably the most subjective emotion that a film hopes to enduce, i.e. what’s funny to me might be horrifying to you.

    It might have been better if MaryAnne said something like, “You’ll like this if you liked the other two Apatow films, or if your a male college student or in high school…” instead of saying only the “infantile minded” will like it.

    Take a look at all the “adult, well adjusted and sensible” critics who praise it on rottentomatoes.com just like they did “Virgin” and “knocked Up”. And if they liked it, imagine how the general audience will respond. This flick will easily pass the $100 mill mark like its siblings.
    DVDs of it will fly of the shelfs and its gonna become a cult classic quoted non-stop like Anchorman.

    You may be right and everyone might be wrong. There’s no way to prove it. But when it comes to these 3 films MaryAnne, your opinions are held by a very tiny minority.

  • Tyler Foster

    I don’t think you were wrong to write the review nor necessarily unfair in your criticism or whatever. I read the review, I scanned the comments. Here is my question, hopefully it doesn’t get ignored or blown off: you say that it’s bad that American culture embraces “not-smart” and “not-sophisticated”. Okay, so it’s bad, but I don’t think that’s a legitimate thing to hold against the movie, really. In doing that you’re suggesting that movies should not be those things, but certainly there must be SOME examples of crude comedy in the history of film that are acceptable. And additionally you say in the same paragraph that you will allow some bullshit in an action movie, but what are lunkheaded action movies besides “not-smart” and “not-sophisticated”? Just curious.

  • MBI

    The key to understanding the Flick Filosopher is knowing that she hates it — just absolutely hates it — when losers hook up with hotties. You see it with Knocked Up, Hitch, even, bizarrely, The Apartment. She sees it as a bullshit male fantasy about how the girls secretly want them the way they are even though they’re repulsive, that they get girls without earning them or coming close to matching them personality-wise. I understand where she’s coming from. (Don’t agree on The Apartment, though.)

    There’s not much of a counterpart for women. There’s stuff like Bridget Jones’s Diary, I guess, but Bridget Jones wasn’t exactly a hideous social pariah. The only one I can think of is Hairspray, which hit a similar trigger of disgust and disbelief for me (this applies more to the ’88 original than the charming musical version, which had a much cooler Tracy Turnblad).

  • Scott P

    If you think that this one teenage comedy movie is proof that American culture is all messed up, then you are over-thinking this way too much. It’s a vulgar comedy meant to make you laugh, not think. With the hundreds of movies being released in the U.S. annually, don’t you think it’s ok to have a handful of silly gross-out comedies in the mix?
    (Plus, the script was written by Rogen & Goldberg, two Jewish teenagers growing up in Canada, so shouldn’t the criticism be directed at our neighbors to the north or the Jewish people? I’m just trying to be funny here so please don’t accuse me of being anti-semitic.)

    I saw the movie yesterday & enjoyed it. 3.5 stars out of 4– not an instant classic but it’s a funny movie, especially the side story with McLovin & the 2 cops.

    A couple of thoughts (some spoilers):
    – When was the last time you saw a movie in which two heterosexual male friends honestly told each other “I love you” like Evan & Seth did? And if the writers & directors wanted to sink to the lowest level of humor, they would’ve cut to Evan & Seth spooning each other in the morning– but they didn’t. Sure, they had an awkward moment designed to get a chuckle & then they got past it & went to the mall together.
    – For all of the filth about women coming out of their mouths, Evan & Seth (like most boys/men) were all talk. Face to face with Becca & Jules, they were completely respectful & awkwardly unsure of themselves. That’s how men act! With each other, we talk a big game but we all know that women rule the world. And for the record, it was Becca who attacked Evan, not vice versa.
    – If this film really wanted to be low-brow & degrading toward women (Porkys-esque), why is there absolutely NO NUDITY in it??? Not even when the cops bust in on McLovin & his girl jumps out of bed & runs off. Maybe I should ask for my money back. (Funniest line of the movie– “Why did you just cockblock McLovin?!”)
    – Mary Ann criticized the “extended menstrual blood joke” but never mentioned the very-extended (no pun intended) “kid with a dick-drawing addiction”. As a man, I guess I should be offended by that!!!

  • Scott P

    One more thing– along with Superbad, I caught The Bourne Ultimatum (ranked 13th best on Mary Ann’s 2007 list) too.

    Let’s talk smart & sophisticated– I don’t think so. It’s the same damn movie for the 3rd time!
    We get it already– the bad guys at the CIA brainwashed him & will kill anyone to silence him now. So let’s piece together some action scenes in some far-off cities, show that Bourne is a good guy because he lets some of those bad guys live & then rake in another $100 million+. Oh, & don’t forget to jiggle the camera around too in order to be artistic!

    Heck, even Matt Damon half-jokingly referred to a possible 4th movie in the series as “The Bourne Redundancy” on The Daily Show. He nailed it with that comment.

    Thankfully, I paid to see Superbad & then slipped in to see Bourne so they didn’t get a dime from me.

  • MaryAnn

    Moe wrote:

    when it comes to these 3 films MaryAnne, your opinions are held by a very tiny minority.

    And I am fully aware of that. Should I not express my opinion if I know it is a minority one?

    Tyler wrote:

    what are lunkheaded action movies besides “not-smart” and “not-sophisticated”?

    You’re assuming that all action movies are “lunkheaded.” Why?

    Scott P wrote:

    If you think that this one teenage comedy movie is proof that American culture is all messed up

    I never said that. This is but one example of many things that prove that American culture is all messed up.

    Scott P. again:

    It’s a vulgar comedy meant to make you laugh, not think

    So then is it okay for me to say that it failed to make laugh, and to explain why?

    Scott P. again:

    With the hundreds of movies being released in the U.S. annually, don’t you think it’s ok to have a handful of silly gross-out comedies in the mix?

    What is the point of this question? Where did I suggest this movie or others like it shouldn’t have been released? Clearly, there is an audience for this kind of movie, and it will no doubt make piles of money, and Hollywood is a business out to make money. By the standard you’re suggesting here, no one should be criticizing anything, ever.

    Scott P. again:

    If this film really wanted to be low-brow & degrading toward women

    I didn’t say the movie is degrading to women. If anything, it’s degrading to men.

  • misterb

    I might disagree with you on this movie (I’m only going by what my daughter tells me about it), but I’ll defend your right to say it. Keep writing entertaining, creative reviews that aren’t predictable, and I’ll keep reading you first.

  • Giles

    MaryAnn,

    Your reviews are like Biblical Archeology: You go into a movie with your opinions already set firmly in place and then merely look for evidence (however thin) to support your pre-established opinions while ignoring evidence to the contrary.

  • Giles

    “It is autobiographical, I suspect, inspired not just by the lives of co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who named the two leads after themselves, but possibly by millions of other teenagers.”

    -Roger Ebert in his review of “Superbad”

    I, too, suspect that it is autobiographical. That said, would you give the film version of “The Diary of Anne Frank a “skip it” because it casts Germans in a poor light?

  • Ken

    Giles I, too, suspect that it is autobiographical. That said, would you give the film version of “The Diary of Anne Frank” a “skip it” because it casts Germans in a poor light?

    Does this officially Godwin this thread?

    Your analogy, of course, is ridiculous. If you want a more accurate analogy, you should have said:

    Would you give the film version of “The Diary of Anne Frank” a “skip it” if it celebrated the actions of the Germans?

    And I think we can all agree that such a film shouldn’t get our entertainment dollars.

  • Lucie

    I find it interesting that you are being criticized by people who take for granted the same gender essentialism that you openly dismiss: namely that men and women are completely different animals, that there is an abyss between male and female experience, and that there is no way one gender can ever understand the other (let alone criticize it!) All we poor women can do to understand the glory that it is to be man is sit back in awed silence while the parade of dick and fart jokes that make up The Eternal Masculine runs before our eyes, and clap at the end (but not too loudly; it wouldn’t do for us to look like we are “appropriating” the message.)

    That’s why I stopped watching gross-out comedies. I tried for a while, in order to be cool and one-of-the-guys, but I didn’t feel welcome. Almost all of these movies tell us girls not to take them personally, “because it’s not about you – it’s about the guys,” and yet we are criticized and told we don’t have a sense of humour because we happen to feel excluded. If there was a female equivalent to the fratboy coming-of-age-through-gross-out comedy, that might not be so bad, but no one is interested in the female rite of passage except as a tool for promoting the latest fashion trends (see Bratz).

    As for the people who ask what a “real man” should be like: a real man shouldn’t need to view himself as belonging to a completely different species of humanity than women in order to feel comfortable with himself and his sexuality. In general, one might also say that any attempt to define what it is to be a man according to some abstract platonic archetype (in this case, the caveman) is a sign of insecurity at best and crass sexism at worst.

    Thank you, Mary Ann, for refusing to jump onto the regressive bandwagon that’s represented by Apatow et al.’s fratboy comedies. It’s nice to see that there are still a few sane and socially-conscious voices out there in the midst of the current anti-feminist backlash.

    (By the way, I’m French, and must apologize for any spelling or grammar mistakes.)

  • “I, too, suspect that it is autobiographical. That said, would you give the film version of “The Diary of Anne Frank a “skip it” because it casts Germans in a poor light?”

    Wow… that might just be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    On another note, why do so many people rely on ad hominems in arguing movies like this. As in, “Shut up, you stupid feminist bitch, I liked it!” If you liked it so much, why are you so threatened that someone else didn’t? Or, even better, as someone posted above, “We all have different tastes, so stop criticizing people who disagree with you!” The people saying this fail to realize that they are criticizing someone who disagrees with them.

  • JoshDM

    You know, there is a mature way to handle not agreeing with a reviewer and an immature way of doing it. I feel I’ve done it the right way; informed her that though I used to agree with her opinions, I don’t any longer, and be done with it.

    I do not see the need pointlessly bash the opinion to which she is entitled and call her various names.

    It’s HER review with HER opinion on … HER website.

    Don’t like it? Don’t browse here.

  • amanohyo

    But JoshDM, don’t you see? For the most part, these aren’t people who browse here regularly. When you’re at a party ordering pizza, and everyone says that pepperoni is good, but one person says they don’t like pepperoni, or even that they are *gasp* a vegetarian, sometimes one or two of people will blurt out “How can anyone not like pepperoni?!”

    Nonconformity, no matter how reasonable, knaws at their very soul until they cannot resist it any longer and must rush over and confront the vile infidel who dares not like pepperoni. “Calm down!! Why must you take things so seriously!!” they shout, “Everyone has different opinions about toppings! It’s only a pizza! Just because you had a bad experience with a pepperoni pizza before, you’re not giving this one a fair chance!”

    This analogy isn’t quite accurate because in this case, MA actually ate the “pizza” before criticizing it as part of her job, but it’s just as ridiculous to me. If you truly liked a pizza, one person’s negative opinion shouldn’t retroactively make it taste bad, and yet that seems to be a genuine fear for many commenters. It’s truly baffling.

  • Giles

    “Your analogy, of course, is ridiculous.”

    The Encarta dictionary defines an analogy as: “A comparison between two things that are similar in some respects, often used to help explain something or make it easier to understand.”

    While I admit my analogy was extreme, that didn’t make it any less analogous.

    My underlying point being a refutation of the criteria (or lack of criteria) upon which the film is judged.

  • Puppetbrain

    Actually when someone who has a link to their unproduced screenplay starts a review with “This is why Hollywood mostly sucks: Corporate movies are getting made from scripts written by 13-year-olds who went on to drop out of high school.” then yeah bitter.

  • Ironically, the ad within the article right now is for “Paparazzi Exposed: Paris Seduced! Lindsay’s Secret! J. Simpson Soaked!”

    It made me laugh.

  • People who have made me laugh reading these comments:

    Puppetbrain
    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2007/08/superbad_review.html#comment-19271

    Giles
    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2007/08/superbad_review.html#comment-19263

    Giles again
    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2007/08/superbad_review.html#comment-19262

    Ken (just for saying “humanoids” like it’s bad to be one)
    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2007/08/superbad_review.html#comment-19253

    Amanohyo (for being so in love with MA)
    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2007/08/superbad_review.html#comment-19225

    Anyway, here are MA’s reviews for 2008: Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Skip it, no one should forget women. Women are great. Pure Imagination? Skip it. It’s just juvenile for a young male to fantasize about having sex with an attractive woman. Pineapple Express? Skip it. Judd Apatow made it, and it’s not as good as those other movies that are nothing like it.

  • Moe

    MaryAnne: “And I am fully aware of that. Should I not express my opinion if I know it is a minority one?”

    Obviously you should. This is your website, your opinions and your personality that brings people back here. 99% of the time, you’re absolutely correct in your criticisms (i.e. Bourne) but for some reason, Apatow’s comedies grates you the wrong way. You seriously didn’t even smile, chuckle or laugh once?

    I’ll just remember not to take your advise to anything Judd Apatow related.

  • fuggle

    Giles: “Your reviews are like Biblical Archeology: You go into a movie with your opinions already set firmly in place and then merely look for evidence (however thin) to support your pre-established opinions while ignoring evidence to the contrary.”

    People keep saying this, but they’ve yet to offer any sort of support at all for the statement.

    So … well?

  • Katie

    “In related news, MaryAnn, you are my personal hero for having the ability to deal so gracefully with such overpowering stupidity.”

    Wonderfully said Drave. I second that sentiment.

  • Johnny

    I’m surprised no one’s brought up Michael Cera’s work on Arrested Development. He was adorable, and held his own with an extremely talented cast. Unfortunately away from critically-acclaimed sitcoms he’s going have a hard time finding quality material. I was hoping this movie would showcase his lovable nerd charm, but apparently not. And since he is nerdy, it seems likely his career is headed for a brick wall.

  • Giles

    “Giles: “Your reviews are like Biblical Archeology: You go into a movie with your opinions already set firmly in place and then merely look for evidence (however thin) to support your pre-established opinions while ignoring evidence to the contrary.” People keep saying this, but they’ve yet to offer any sort of support at all for the statement. So … well?”

    Fuggle,

    Nope. Not going to take the bait. But you seem like a smart person. Why do you think “People keep saying this”?

    I’ll give you a few hints:

    Any Apatow related film reviewed by MaryAnn is met with derision.

    Prior to the release of “Knocked Up” the film was posted in the “I’m dreading” section of her bias meter.

    For at least a week (possibly longer) Apatow was listed as “Current Enemy”.

    “Superbad” also rated the “I’m dreading” category.

    The rest I will leave to you as I have neither the time nor the interest on writing an extended thesis on how expectations shape reality or on irrationally targeted hatred toward specific film-making individuals.

    However, if you wish to test my hypothesis, what odds would you lay on MaryAnn placing “Pineapple Express” in her “I’m dreading” category followed by a loathing review of the film?

  • John

    I guess I don’t get it, again. MA seems to hold everything that comes out of the Apatow camp to this absurd metric of maturity while other movies get a free pass for the same. I mean, what exactly was Dazed and Confused if not a movie about dorks trying to score booze and trim? Did I miss the scalpel-precise sociological commentary in that one?

    No, these are not desirable people to be. No, these are not ‘men’. No shit. Was the movie funny? Was Knocked Up funny? I couldn’t tell from either review because all I got was a stern condemnation of a bunch of fictional characters’ lifestyles.

    It’s kind of galling that MA glosses over the worldview in 300, which is arguably burdened with all sorts of troublesome attitudes towards race and violence that it doesn’t even bother to conceal, but rakes a juvenile sex comedy over the coals for being a juvenile sex comedy. Maybe I’m not man enough to understand, I dunno.

  • For more Michael Cera goodness, check out his extremely intellectual happenings at:

    Clark and Michael Dot Com

  • misogynisticSUPERBADfan

    you write for an internet site… your opinion means nothing. sorry.

  • DNSS

    I think its a bit harsh to say this movie shows the worst in men. What about michael cera’s charecter? You all seem to be forgetting about McLovin too. One main charecter is a creep. Some guys are creeps. The other two guys are at varying and lesser degrees of creepness. I thought the film was a fair representation of male adolescent frustration. But you still never really said what you thought made a “real man” and you cant weasel out of this when i ask it by saying paraphrasing angelica pickles (if you have to ask, youll never know) because im still young. Im asking you what i should aspire to be.

  • MaryAnn
  • MaryAnn

    Giles complained a lot about my Bias Alert and how it apparently proves I’ve got it in for Apatow. And then he wrote:

    The rest I will leave to you as I have neither the time nor the interest on writing an extended thesis on how expectations shape reality or on irrationally targeted hatred toward specific film-making individuals.

    Are you suggesting, Giles, that anyone who goes into *Superbad* having enjoyed *40 Year Old Virgin* and *Knocked Up* would be irrational in also enjoying this movie?

    As I’ve said many times before, we all go into movies with expectations of what we’re going to see, and whether we’re going to like it or not — film critics included, even the ones who are praising *Superbad.* I am being honest about these expectations. Would you prefer that I were not, and kept them hidden?

    Giles again:

    However, if you wish to test my hypothesis, what odds would you lay on MaryAnn placing “Pineapple Express” in her “I’m dreading” category followed by a loathing review of the film?

    At the moment, knowing nothing about this film that it is from Apatow, and knowing that I’ve hated his other films, then yes, it has an excellent chance of ending up in my Dreading slot. Whether I actually hate the film, though, will depend on how that film hits me when I finally see it.

    I’d love for you to explain how I should shut off my expectations, or why I should do that.

    I’d love for you to explain how it is possible, since you seem to hold me in such low regard, that I have, in fact, in the past, ended up raving about movies that I once were officially Dreading.

    And I’d love for you to explain why you seem to be personally offended by my lack of appreciation for this movie.

  • JT

    You say it was written from an adolescent perspective, and in the review, you’re not even willing to accept there were rewrites from when Seth Rogen originally wrote started writing it at age 13. That shows a strong bias. You’ve got the notion in your head that this film is written by 13 year olds, and nothing will change that. You’re like Stephen Colbert – you go with what your gut tells you is right.

    When in fact, every major interview these guys have done indicates that the only thing that remains from the original script is the plot outline and the dialogue and characters have undergone changes – see Premiere, Joblo, or the interview Rogen did with Conan O’Brien.

    Even though the chemistry between Cera and Hill is easy, the road to Superbad was not. It all began when two best friends from Vancouver named Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg sat through a particularly bad run of movies when they were 13. Rogen says, “we just decided let’s try to write a funny movie that we would love to see. We wrote a very bad, dirty movie and then rewrote it for 15 years.”

    How much of the original script remains?

    SR: The general idea was always in there. Two guys trying to buy alcohol to impress a girl, another guy goes off with the cops with the fake I.D.. McLovin goes off with the cops. I mean that was always the same. The real evolution was the relationship between the guys. I think in the first draft, a lot of the criticism we heard was that the characters were very much alike. And we were kind of similar, not like we’re totally different guys. So we really had a hard time wrapping our heads around, ‘how do we make another guy?’. But slowly we kind of developed with a lot of help and advice from Judd, we kind of developed a relationship and an emotional story between the guys.

  • Y’know, give that Cera kid a break.

    The little dude got fired from Knocked Up, and this is his make-or-break feature.

  • MaryAnn

    For more about my Bias Alert and why you should all be applauding it, even if you love *Superbad,* please see the comments on this thread.

    DNSS wrote:

    But you still never really said what you thought made a “real man”

    I most certainly did.

    JT wrote:

    You say it was written from an adolescent perspective, and in the review, you’re not even willing to accept there were rewrites from when Seth Rogen originally wrote started writing it at age 13. That shows a strong bias.

    Oh, good lord. Do I really have to spell out absolutely everything? Do you really think I really believe that the script was not rewritten? Is it really unclear that my faux-fastidious comment — “shan’t”? I never use that word! — is saying precisely that I KNOW full damn well that the script was OF COURSE rewritten, just like every other damn script in Hollywood is.

    I don’t think it requires very much reading between the lines to see that that’s what I’m saying about this film: that even though of course the film went through a gajillion rewrites, it STILL reflects nothing but the narrow, blinkered experience of 13-year-old boys, and hence, that MUST be the intended point.

  • JoshDM

    @JT

    That Stephen Colbert “going with his gut” thing is a part of his comedy act. If you believe it to be anything different, that is actually pretty scary.

  • JT

    JoshDM: I’m aware of that. I was referring to the blowhard character he portrays on his show.

    MaryAnn: Fair enough. Back to your review; you claim – “This is why Hollywood mostly sucks: Corporate movies are getting made from scripts written by 13-year-olds who went on to drop out of high school.” Don’t you think it’s a bit ludicrous for you to be railing against juvenile, corporate Hollywood movies, given that you liked Transformers?

  • eric

    Good stuff, all around folks. I liked this movie simply because it made me enjoy (and relate to) rooting for the physically and mentally (and thereby evolutionarily) challenged male. I’lll even admit that, although much of the (Seth’s) dialogue was so utterly crass and moronic as to practically render the character entirely unrealistic, this movie made a lot of sense from a physical perspective. Universally, I think we’d agree that, no matter how intelligent, no matter how great their desire, uber geeks and nerds generally have a real tough time getting any poon. But at least to me, and in this particular case, it was a total riot watching them try their best.

    So here’s to all former high school drop-outs who never lose their innner adolescent’s sense of humour!

  • Sam

    Maryann seems to believe that all movies should only present the world in the best possible ideal version. Also, I think she came to the movie expecting to see something, and saw only that, without looking any deeper.

    Seth’s misogyny is -supposed- to be obnoxious, and pretty obviously stemming from (a) the way he is intimidated by women, (b) his low self-worth, and (c) his friends leaving him. The whole fucking point is that this stuff makes him kind of a prick at the beginning of the movie, and regardless if it fit’s into the Flick Filosopher’s ideal world of gender relations, it’s fucking authentic. If you haven’t had similar experiences yourself, you’ve at least known several guys like this.

    You’ve also known or been Evan, who’s obviously uncomfortable with the way Seth talks about girls, but kind of goes off the other end and puts women on a pedestal.

    I mean, I just thought the whole movie was about how these two dumb, inexperienced kids came to terms with all this shit, and grew, and kind of moved past it. They’re still fundamentally themselves, and they’re still obviously going to have a lot more growing to do, but they’ve done a lot of growing already.

    And honestly, I think it’s downright insulting to just dismiss someone’s experiences of coming to terms with their sexuality, the loss of friends, and their own self-worth issues just because it was so easy for you. I guess if anyone has a different life experience from you, they’re just stunted? If they weren’t able to become neurosis-free, fully functioning independant adults by fifteen, then they’re all obviously worthless trash who deserve to be patronized at best, and reviled at worst?

    I think some of this is stemming from the fact that yes, generally girls have a harder time of it than boys because yes, there is a really tremendous amount of misogyny in our culture. But, it’s not exactly a picnic for adolescent boys, either. I just am really put-off by how unwilling Maryann seems to put herself in another person’s shoes, to even -try- to relate to the self-consciousness and fear that these boys have of the world.

    And it really seemed to me that the end of the movie was all about how they had finally realized that all their weird conceptions of girls that they’d developed without actually, you know, -interacting- with them, were totally flawed. And they realized it.

    Was I the only one who thought this? Am I just rationalizing my love of the movie? Or did it seem like the Flick Filosopher, in her eagerness to be outraged, totally ignored the parts of the movie which put the rest of it in context.

  • Sam

    Oh, and as someone who dropped out of high school, got an equivalency, and is hoping to transfer to a UC school after a stint at community college, that nonsense about using “high school dropout” as a pejorative put me off.

    Just because you dropped out of high school doesn’t mean you’re stupid, misogynistic, or immature. Maybe you just really didn’t like going to a depressing hellhole day after day, and maybe your clinical depression made it hard for you to get your schoolwork done, and maybe you’re hoping college will be better, but you’re still terrified about your future.

    Does none of that matter because I dropped out of high school? Are those all just excuses for my immaturity? Are my flaws (which I’m working on) and trials invalid simply because you say so? Of course, I would disagree.

    Fundamentally, I don’t think an unwillingness to look at the other side speaks well of anyone. You might realize that they’re not so different after all.

  • Marvin

    Wow, can we say uptight? I love how you try to make fun of anyone who would like this movie by calling them immature. Sorry to break it to you, but plenty of guys think the stuff that the guys in this movie say out loud and think it’s hilarious. You can make fun of all the people that can and will enjoy this movie, but that’s ok because they probably wouldn’t listen to a word you said after reading your review.

  • josh

    “And I grant that the movie IS NOT TRYING to be smart and sophisticated. Part of what I’m railing against — as I did with *Knocked Up* — is the idea that not-smart and not-sophisticated is an okay place for American culture to be at. It may well be there, but we shouldn’t be proud of that.”

    Ya, it’s not trying to be smart and sophisticated. It’s trying to be accurate.

    It’d be stupid to suggest that every guy shares the same general highschool experience, or that every guy knew someone like the characters in this film, but I happen to be one of them. Based on the comments posted here, I’m not the only one. Movies like Dazed and Confused, and in fact almost every single teen-comedy, are fake in the sense that the characters in them are stereotypes your average joe can’t relate to. Evan, Seth, and even Fogell are people I know — highschool dudes who are awkward and horny and completely in the dark about girls.

    Superbad isn’t promoting their behaviour; I’m sure many male adults look back on how they acted in higschool and think that some of the things they did were real stupid and immature. That’s why they can watch this movie and laugh because they’ve ‘been there’. This movie was a trip down memory lane for guys, and some girls. As a recent highschool graduate, I watched this film and looked back on the last four years of my life and I could relate to this film. Strangely enough — as this film concentrates a lot more on its male characters — my female friends could relate, too.

    I can appreciate how some people might not be able to relate to this film as well as me or everyone I know, how some people had such a drastically different highschool experience that this movie feels wrong to them, but don’t compare it to such horribly fake films as Dazed and Confused and its cliche cohorts and then claim they more accurately and appropriately represent adolescence. That’s not just an insult to Superbad, but to guys. Which is probably why so many males here are up-in-arms about your review.

  • MBI

    Well, I saw this movie and my thoughts are this: Is maturity the be-all end-all of human existence? Do you demand everything you do be mature? And if you do, do you hold movies to that same standard? Must all movies be mature? Or for that matter, smart? Moral? Deep?

  • MBI

    “Part of what I’m railing against — as I did with *Knocked Up* — is the idea that not-smart and not-sophisticated is an okay place for American culture to be at.”

    I mean, seriously, what’s that bullshit? I know you don’t genuinely believe that.

  • Josh

    Can’t help but notice that MaryAnn again seems to point out that one of the reasons she hates this film is that she can’t fathom how any woman would be attracted to men like the ones in this film. Let me point out that in the Knocked Up thread MaryAnn clearly stated she does not think that a good personality or sense of humor has anything to do with establishing a good relationship, not that the character of Seth has a good personality. Still, you get my point. I still find it sad that MaryAnn has to point out the fact that her idea of romance is very shallow and trite. Her reviews have consistently dealt with this subject matter whenever an actor she does not find physically attractive ends up with a woman who is physically attractive. Not saying that Super Bad is a wonderful film. I found lots of things wrong with it. But, in the end, the film accomplished its mission, to make the audience laugh.

  • Nathan

    Reviewer: “Superbad is immature dreck.”

    Reader: “I enjoyed Superbad and found it edifying, so now my feelings are hurt.”

    Reviewer: “Maybe the fact that so many people find a film like Superbad edifying reveals a deep cultural flaw.”

    Reader: “I don’t want to consider the film in that light; I just want to enjoy a crass, stupid movie every once in a while.”

    Reviewer: “Ok, fine.”

    Reader: “But I want you to make me feel good about enjoying the movie.”

    Reviewer: “That’s not going to happen.”

    Reader: “You suck at this!”

  • Josh

    There’s nothing at all wrong with MaryAnn not liking the film. I only complain when she A. gets defensive on here when someone has a different opinion or B. Contradicts herself, which happens a lot.

  • fuggle

    “Ya, it’s not trying to be smart and sophisticated. It’s trying to be accurate.”

    And it’s been stated more than once – the problem with the movie isn’t that! That’s not a problem at all. The problem’s not with the accuracy, but WITH the attitude towards that accuracy.

    The two are rather vastly distinct, and has been said multiple times – it’s her perception of that attitude, not of the accuracy of the film – that (or so it seems to me) fuels her negativity to this.

  • Ken

    Shaun: People who have made me laugh reading these comments:
    Ken (just for saying “humanoids” like it’s bad to be one) http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2007/08/superbad_review.html#comment-19253

    That’s just my homage to Bobby Heenan, back from the days when I used to watch professional wrestling.

  • Ken

    Josh Let me point out that in the Knocked Up thread MaryAnn clearly stated she does not think that a good personality or sense of humor has anything to do with establishing a good relationship, not that the character of Seth has a good personality. Still, you get my point. I still find it sad that MaryAnn has to point out the fact that her idea of romance is very shallow and trite.

    I think if you went back and read the Knocked Up review and comments you’d find that her message was that a good personality or sense of humor shouldn’t be the sole basis of a relationship. Which would make her idea of romance less shallow and trite than those who think it can be.

    Not saying that Super Bad is a wonderful film. I found lots of things wrong with it. But, in the end, the film accomplished its mission, to make the audience laugh.

    Obviously it didn’t for everyone.

  • MaryAnn

    JT wrote:

    Don’t you think it’s a bit ludicrous for you to be railing against juvenile, corporate Hollywood movies, given that you liked Transformers?

    *Transformers* is a completely different kind of movie than *Superbad* is. I would have thought that would be obvious even to those who like both of them.

    Eric wrote:

    no matter how intelligent, no matter how great their desire, uber geeks and nerds generally have a real tough time getting any poon.

    You might have better luck if you didn’t think of it as “poon.”

    Sam wrote:

    Maryann seems to believe that all movies should only present the world in the best possible ideal version.

    No, I don’t.

    And honestly, I think it’s downright insulting to just dismiss someone’s experiences of coming to terms with their sexuality, the loss of friends, and their own self-worth issues just because it was so easy for you. I guess if anyone has a different life experience from you, they’re just stunted?

    I think you’re making assumptions about me that aren’t necessarily true. As I said in my review, quite plainly, “Being a horny teenager is a human experience common to everyone, male and female alike.” In what way was that unclear? I acknowledge that the *content* of much of what is portrayed in this film is indeed authentic, or “fucking authentic,” if you prefer. But if this were intended for an audience that had moved past this adolescent authenticity, the characters’ inexperience and obnoxiousness would have been presented in a way that appeared not to approve of it, as this film does. As has been made clear already, it’s HOW what is presented here is presented, not WHAT is presented.

    Just because you dropped out of high school doesn’t mean you’re stupid, misogynistic, or immature.

    Never said it was. I suggested that Rogen — and by extension, Hollywood — is. Big difference.

    Marvin:

    Sorry to break it to you, but plenty of guys think the stuff that the guys in this movie say out loud and think it’s hilarious. You can make fun of all the people that can and will enjoy this movie, but that’s ok because they probably wouldn’t listen to a word you said after reading your review.

    That’s fantastic, Marvin. Honestly. Anyone who thinks this movie is uproarious probably does not share the same general taste in movies with me, and probably should not waste any time reading my reviews. I’m not really sure why you think I should be hurt or upset to hear you tell me that these people won’t read my stuff. Do you think film critics should be honest? Or should they simply write what they think people want to hear?

    Josh:

    Let me point out that in the Knocked Up thread MaryAnn clearly stated she does not think that a good personality or sense of humor has anything to do with establishing a good relationship

    That is an absolute falsehood. I have never said anything of the kind, and your statement, Josh, is exactly the opposite of what I believe.

    Josh again:

    I still find it sad that MaryAnn has to point out the fact that her idea of romance is very shallow and trite.

    This absolutely floors me. It could not be more wrong characterization of my “idea of romance,” as I think anyone who reads my writing with any level of reading comprehension would understand.

  • Josh

    MaryAnn – Going back to the conversation, I did notice that you stated that personality and sense of humor matter. I apoligize. Yet, you stated that those things are not as important and that they are, “But they are the bare minimum you start from. They are not the ONLY basis for a relationship — they’re a given.” I agree that many people do look for looks over personality, and I also agree that, for most people, looks are the most important thing when first meeting someone. I also know that I am the type of person someone like yourself would call a “schlub” yet I get attractive women flirting with me when they first meet me. It has to do with the personality and signals a person sends out. Not all women are looking for the next Brad Pitt. There are plenty that are looking for a guy who just makes them happy. I think the main discussion about the Knocked Up review is that you were totally oblivious to the fact that Alison was attracted to Ben, even before they were drunk and slept together. The film made this blatantly obvious and I can’t understand how you could miss that unless you were totally repulsed by the idea of someone falling for a guy like Ben. Then, you defend the Paul Rudd character who has all of the same flaws that Ben does but is good looking. This is a running thread in your reviews. Your review of “Hitch” described the film as a “fantasy that every man has, that he deserves a supermodel as a girlfriend, no matter how much of a schlub he is.” Who was the schlub in that film? Was it the Kevin James character? I would not call him a schlub just because the guy is overweight and a little on the socially awkward side, but that’s my opinion. Then, I read your review of You, Me, and Dupree, which you seemed to like a lot. You call Owen Wilsons character in You, Me, and Dupree a lovable fuckup. You seem very smitten with the character. OK, let’s examine this. The Dupree character is a lazy drug user who likes porn and treats women poorly. I don’t remember the character changing much in the film. Certainly not as much as the Seth Rogen character in Knocked Up. I would say, from your review, you find that character attractive. Now, the Ben character in Knocked Up. Here is a lazy drug user who likes porn and treats women pretty good, at least he tried his best with Alison. The character’s in Knocked Up and Dupree are practically identical, maybe even the Rogen character is more mature. Yet, one you love because he is “hot” and the other you treat as the spawn of Satan. If I am putting words into your mouth, please stop me. I really don’t think you feel this way about people, men in general. You are too intelligent for that. It’s just that your reviews project that sometimes.

  • daniel

    wow, didn’t realize how angry people get when someone doesn’t like a movie that they enjoyed. Calm down people, she has her opinion. I’m sure i didn’t like a movie that she liked, but i doubt she would personally blast me on forums because of that.

    I know i will personally enjoy the hell out of this movie, as i did knocked up, as well as dazed and confused.

    It’s ok to disagree with someone’s opinion. If you really felt the need to post a comment on here about how horrible of a critic MA is, then you need to go grab a smoke and chill out.

    NEWSFLASH!!!! NOT EVERYONE WILL ENJOY THIS MOVIE!!!!

  • Josh

    Again Daniel, for me it has nothing to do with her not liking the film. It has to do with the attitude that she sometimes projects.

  • Sam

    Maryann wrote: “I think you’re making assumptions about me that aren’t necessarily true. As I said in my review, quite plainly, “Being a horny teenager is a human experience common to everyone, male and female alike.” In what way was that unclear? I acknowledge that the *content* of much of what is portrayed in this film is indeed authentic, or “fucking authentic,” if you prefer. But if this were intended for an audience that had moved past this adolescent authenticity, the characters’ inexperience and obnoxiousness would have been presented in a way that appeared not to approve of it, as this film does. As has been made clear already, it’s HOW what is presented here is presented, not WHAT is presented.

    I am quite aware of the bolded part of your response. Indeed, I think I made it clear that I disagreed with your interpretation of how the film represented such behavior. I wouldn’t say it glorified it. After all, Seth and Evan are obviously immature. That’s kind of the point of the movie, isn’t it? That by the end, they’ve moved past that?

    It’s certainly sympathetic, and a lot of the surface humor is drawn from their inexperienced fumbling, but I think that’s because Rogen et al had very similar experiences. Of course they’re going to present such experiences in a sympathetic light. But I don’t really think the movie suggests that anyone ought to go out and act that way.

    I mean, even on the shallowest possible level — they only get the girls after growing up a little.

    Maybe it’s harder to look beyond the surface for someone who’s had very different personal experiences — that would make sense. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something deeper there. I think you just missed it.

    I think the boys are presented as immature, socially awkward, and internally conflicted, with pretty dumb notions about girls. And that’s OK, because they moved past it. It’s not about glorifying misogyny or ineptitude — it’s about relating to your own experiences, and having a good laugh. It’s about having the kind of laugh you can only have in retrospect.

    I guess I can see the validity in your complaint in that there are innumerable fraternatards out there who haven’t moved beyond immature fumbling, and they probably won’t see beyond the surface, either. But, then again, plenty of media has been misinterpreted throughout history. Is that the creator’s responsibility? That’s up for debate.

    But, in the end, I felt that the creator’s intent was very obviously to laugh at the mistakes of the past, but in a way that is very understanding, because the creators made those same mistakes themselves. And so have most of the people for whom this movie resonanted.

    I still may not have articulated that properly, but there you go.

  • MaryAnn

    Josh wrote:

    Yet, you stated that those things are not as important and that they are, “But they are the bare minimum you start from. They are not the ONLY basis for a relationship — they’re a given.” I agree that many people do look for looks over personality,

    Aha! You think that’s what I was saying?! If you can point to ANYWHERE that I have EVER said that or suggested that I look for looks over personality, I will eat my laptop. That is ABSOLUTELY not what I have ever said or believe — you are reading that into what I wrote. As I wrote in the KU thread:

    All I know is that I’ve met lots of men who are funny and nice. And I’ve never wanted to marry any of them, or have their babies just because they were funny and nice. But maybe I’m weird that way. Maybe most people settle for someone who is “funny” and “nice” but nothing more.

    I guess I’m the “shallow” one for believing that the person you marry, hitch yourself to, theoretically, for the rest of your life, should be something more to you than that.

    Why you would read “I need a man who looks like a movie star” into that is, I suspect, more dependent on your own biases than anything I have written. What I’m talking about that is more important than “funny and nice” — and far more important than physical appearance — is: Chemistry. Romantic attraction. Electricity. Sparks. That elusive zing. Call it what you will. That has nothing to do with looks, personality, or niceness. It’s rare, that zing, but I’ve experienced it with people who are homely but full of personality and niceness (which is great), and with people who are gorgeous but not nice at all (which is rather disturbing, actually, and made me run in the opposite direction). Looks are the LEAST important factor in this equation.

    And THAT’s what’s missing in movies like *Knocked Up* and *Superbad* (and many, perhaps even most, other movies that Hollywood wants us to see as “romantic”). You’ve said you saw this in KU — fine. I didn’t. I see Allison trying to force it, and failing. There may be a smidge of real, geniune attraction between the Evan character and the girl he likes in *Superbad,* but there’s none between the Seth character and the hottie he likes: the girls are not characters at all, so we’re barely given any opportunity to see what Evan’s girl might see in him, and there is nothing, nothing to indicate that Seth’s girl has any interest in him beyond the fact they she can use him to buy booze.

    So when I’m complaining about hotties hooking up with schlubs, that’s what it’s about: there’s no reason for these women to be with these guys. They aren’t nice or funny. (Seth’s personality is most fairly likened to that of an enraged bear or rabid dog.) You certainly can’t even accuse these women of being shallow and choosing a handsome face. And there’s no sense that these women are hormonally electrified by these guys in spite of their seeming lack of other obvious appeal.

    The character’s in Knocked Up and Dupree are practically identical, maybe even the Rogen character is more mature. Yet, one you love because he is “hot” and the other you treat as the spawn of Satan.

    No, I don’t, and I think you’d have to deliberately misread both my reviews of KU *and* YM&D to come to such a conclusion. If KU treated Ben with the same respect that YM&D treats Dupree, my reaction to KU might have been different. For Christ’s sake, I DEFEND the Ben character in my review, defend him from the way the movie abuses him; YM&D doesn’t abuse Dupree. The movies are apples and oranges. As I said in my review of YM&D, Wilson has a “talent for turning loafing and mooching into something Zen and almost religious.” Would that KU had given Ben that kind of benefit of the doubt. Would that *Superbad* could have conveyed the experience of confuse adolescent sexuality in a way that made us appreciate our once-innocence and awkwardness instead of making something it dirty and nasty.

  • MaryAnn

    Sam wrote:

    I still may not have articulated that properly, but there you go.

    I understand what you’re saying, I just disagree with it. I don’t think the film conveys what you think it conveys. At least, it doesn’t for me.

  • Sam

    Hmm, well, I’m probably going to see it again in the next week or so, and that will give me a chance to really analyze it again. I’d at least recommend that you try to watch the end of the movie again (I suppose the climax would be when they finally get to Jules’ party?) and really try to see it from the point of view of someone who’s made many of the same mistakes that the movie’s characters make.

    I think if the movie had been any more blatant with its message, it would have become ham-fisted.

    I kind of hate that pretty much most of the commenters here have just been vindicating you, though. That is, being immature and playing to misandrist stereotypes.

    I think, honestly, this movie is meant to be a counter to all that stupid bullshit, but I guess maybe they were too subtle about it. Wouldn’t have been nearly as an enjoyable, though.

    Anyway, I guess we just can agree to disagree, but I hope it all seems less bleak in light of the fact that at least a few of us came out of the theater with a very different — and much brighter — message.

  • Drave

    Okay, damn it, I guess I’m going to have to actually see this movie tomorrow, just so I can jump into this conversation. I guess this goes to show that controversy is still the best possible advertising for a movie. *laughs*

  • RvB

    Your site certainly seems to attract a bunch of dickwielders. If they’re so helplessly manly, why can’t they handle a little dissent without squawking? I thought Superbad was funny–but then again I really hope that it’s true that in this life it’s not what you laugh at that makes you an idiot, it’s what you cry at.
    And yet I’m seriously wondering when Apatow is going to make a movie that include a female comedian?
    It’s very clear what the gang here thinks about women in the menstrual blood scen; they’re laughing with the men, instead of at them. The real love in this movie is for the noble cleanliness of the penis instead of the foul strange mystery of the vage.

  • william shakespear

    Prepare ye for a change of diet? Forget Tom Hanks!
    Now, supergood or superbad, the studio prexy’s will have written/produced/directed/starring Seth Rogan crammed down our throats?
    Can you hear the wheels turning? His agent’s on line 2, Woody Allen on 3, Spielberg on 4 and Eisner on 5… Email from Bill Clinton…Fruit basket from Oprah… Mercedes guy on line 6, the Ferrari guy on 7. FedEx drops-off the NetJets contract…On line 8 someone saying they’re George Clooney, but sounds like Travolta again…Cruise tries getting through pretending to be Jon Stewart…Text-messages from fiance’…E-mails from trainer, chef, architect, pot dealer, art dealer…Voice-mail’s from accountant, “Everythings cool”, The Academy, “Will you be a presenter?” and Entertainment Tonight, “What’s your favorite color?”

  • Pedro

    haven’t seen the movie, probably won’t see it, and it appals me that a script wirtten by a 13-year-old actually got green-lighted.

    that said, i’m a 22-year-old male dork and no, i STILL haven’t fathomed the mysteries of women, and i have NO clue why they behave the way they do. i also like acting silly with my mates and telling sexual tall-tales (even though i am, in fact, still a virgin). that, as many readers have said, is what men DO. so in this aspect, the movie is sort of realistic.

  • MaryAnn

    Sam wrote:

    I think if the movie had been any more blatant with its message, it would have become ham-fisted.

    But it’s not about the “message.” It’s about the tone and attitude with which the “message” is presented. I don’t see how I can be any clearer about that.

    To wit: see my comments about the differences between *Knocked Up* and *You, Me and Dupree* a couple of comments above. Similar protagonists: vastly different approaches to telling a story about them.

    I kind of hate that pretty much most of the commenters here have just been vindicating you, though. That is, being immature and playing to misandrist stereotypes.

    I find it somewhat hilarious, myself. I am happy to discuss the film with someone how disagrees with me but can explain why they disagree. Obviously: that’s what we’re doing.

    Pedro wrote:

    I have NO clue why they behave the way they do

    I honestly don’t think people — men and women, straight and gay, everyone — are all that hard to understand, not at the core. We all just want to feel safe and loved. Things get fucked up from there, sometimes, what with people having all sorts of insecurities about their own loveableness and what constitutes “safety,” but that’s what it boils down to, I believe.

  • Tyler Foster

    “You’re assuming all action movies are “lunkheaded”. Why?”

    I had been going off your comment where you said you were willing to put up with a lot of “bullshit” from an action movie, moreso than other movies. To me this implies that the movie is, at least, not smart, although through direction it could easily be sophisticated.

    Having seen Superbad now I can see where people would think it was crude and where it crosses the line but the movie doesn’t act particularly serious. It is just a crude comedy and I wouldn’t apply the same standards to “Adaptation” as I do “Superbad” because I would hope that one can see the trailer and get a reasonable level of expectation for what KIND of movie you’re going to go see. I’m not saying I loosen my standards for Superbad but I don’t need the movie to make particularly deep points about anything, simply observations through comedy, even if they’re crude observations.

    I don’t think the fact that men make crude jokes about things makes them less of real men because that is, has been and will be some 80% of men in the entire world whether we grow up as a culture or not, although I’ll readily admit that a lot of the people responding in this thread not helping me out very much. Because if a guy knows how to treat a woman the right way and says the right things and acts like a civilized person in public and then goes out and gets a little drunk with some friends and they make gross jokes I don’t think that makes him a horribly or blatantly immature person.

    I also have to say that while your perspective is clearly better than mine I don’t see what’s wrong with most of the female characters in the movie. They aren’t explored but I’d have to argue that Jules’ decision not to drink during her party is reasonable and that the Becca character seems to be grateful for Evan’s decision not to sleep with her. Not well-rounded and not intelligent are two different criticisms, although I don’t remember exactly what you said about them because you said it in the comments and I can’t find it.

    A couple of other things I thought were misleading about your review: There are also not a lot of semen jokes in the movie (there are plenty of dick jokes, which is probably the same thing); I have to say that the boys do not react negatively towards each other in the basement scene near the end of the movie by calling each other gay or anything similar so I think while that joke may pop up briefly elsewhere in the movie I think leveling criticism at the film for being “afraid to embrace male friendship” is a little unfair; I don’t think the characters ever appear to be terrified of women aside from their shyness — you can easily say that they have mysogynist attitudes but I don’t think they act like the ways of women are creepy and strange; and regardless of whether it was period blood or not, I don’t think anyone can be expected to have a good reaction when some stranger bleeds on them from any part of their body at a party. The joke may be about period blood and the guys at the party act like idiots but I don’t think the nature of the joke is that “there could be no greater indignity than getting a bit of period blood on you.”

  • Tyler Foster

    Also while “breaking point” is arbitrary I don’t think the name McLovin is intended to be a joke every single time it’s used, unlike certain names, like “Gaylord Focker”.

  • MBI

    All right, here’s my full analysis of MaryAnn’s review.

    “Oh, and don’t demonstrate the slightest bit of affection for male friends, either. That’s so gay.”

    That’s a faulty interpretation of the scene’s intentions. Not the gay part. The filmmakers clearly believe it to be totally gay. But it’s not disapproving either. It’s heartfelt, it’s not above making fun of it but it’s still fairly sincere.

    And furthermore, the scatology is pretty damn low as far as the jokes go. There’s what, the dick-drawings montage and the period blood (the latter I could have done without, so I’ll give Maryann that one). That’s it. There’s a lot of creative profanity, but the jokes there are more about the assault on decent mannered conversation and not discomfort at bodily fluids.

    I agree, the attraction between the two leads and their crushes are badly written and not credible. The cops lost my sympathy badly when they started abusing their authority to cover their own incompetence — for a movie that’s basically a nostalgia trip for immaturity, that’s a weird scene to include.

    People have already noted this, but while I was reading this review, I was struck by how badly it contradicted her own reviews of “Transformers,” “You, Me & Dupree,” and — here’s one no one else mentioned yet — “Napoleon Dynamite.” No, “Transformers” is not the same kind of stupid as “Superbad” — it’s far worse, “Transformers” is not just stupid but hatefully and angrily so, as is “Napoleon Dynamite.” Aside from a few transgressions, “Superbad” is NOT written from an adolescent perspective like you suggest. It, like Dazed and Confused, is written from a nostalgic perspective; the final, weirdly poignant shot is meant to suggest that the idyllic time when girls made no sense and your bros were all you really needed has come to an end.

    I mean, how can you assume that the film approves of their actions? They end with one guy getting puked on by a girl, and the other one faceplanting and humiliating himself in front of him. How is that approval?

  • Josh

    I would not go to the point of calling people that love this movie idiots, or that it says something bad about our society that they love the film. Stephen Hunter is probably one of the finest critics around and a Pulitzer winner. He loved SuperBad so much that they had to review the film again for a second time on the Roeper show when he was filling in. Hunter called the film a brilliant observation of youth. He places it below American Graffiti but far ahead any of the American Pie films. Me, I have to disagree with the man. Did I find Super Bad smart? Of course I did. The brilliance of these kinds of films is that they stay true to the mystique of the mysterious teenage years. Sure, an adult can say that teens don’t act or talk the way that they do in films like this or American Pie or that adults don’t act the way they do in Knocked Up, but that’s essentially BS. Teens acted this way when I was a teenager a decade ago. They acted and talked like this in the 50’s when my parents were kids. There are times that adults also revert back to this behavior but that does not mean they are imbeciles. I have a lengthly education but I take like a perverted jackass when I am with my friends at times, especially if alcohol is involved LOL My eyes were also opened about 8 years ago when my mom had her 40 year reunion and my dad did not want to go so I went with her. I noticed that these guys that were nearing on 60 still acted the same way the kids in Super Bad do when given the chance.

    I have problems with Super Bad too though. While there were parts of the film that were profoundly meaningful, they were few and far between. The film certainly does not have the heart and substance that the first American Pie film had. In the end Super Bad tries to become a cautionary tale against teenage drinking and sex. As other critics have pointed out, I also found this hypocritical and disjointed. I thought that I would have liked to have seen the ending of Super Bad attached to the original American Pie and the ending of Pie attached to Super Bad. It would have made more sense I think. My favorite seen of Pie is when the boys are at the prom talking about sealing the deal and Jim just loses it, claiming that sex is not that damn important unless it’s done with someone they care about. Then, the film flips and all the boys get laid. Always thought it would have been better if at least one of the boys in Pie did not seal the deal.

    SPOILER

    With Super Bad, it’s the other way around. The two leads go on and on about how sex is so important and they don’t want to go to school as virgins. There’s not that moment of clarity that Pie had. They just don’t end up getting laid and are taught a lesson from that.

    Another thing I had a problem with in Super Bad is that, while they were very funny, the cops seemed to be in the wrong movie. They just sidetracked everything going on and took away from the plot the film was trying to develop. In a film that was wild on its own, the cops seemed too wacky for the film. They belong in something like Super Troopers or Reno 911, not Super Bad.

    I don’t agree with MaryAnn’s assessment that the film is childish. Yes, it was written by 13 year olds but it was obvious that more substance was indeed added. Also, it’s clear to me that Rogen is a very intelligent man, even if he did not finish High School.

    While I dont agree with critics like Hunter, Ebert and Roeper that this film is brilliant, I also don’t agree with MaryAnn. The film is a very pleasant diversion and stays true to what it is to be a teenager. Sadly, I think many of us forget how insane, obscene, and profound our teenage years actually are.

  • Josh

    Sorry for all the SP’s and mistypes above. Just typing quickly and very tired after work

  • Josh

    I also agree with Tyler. What is wrong with the female characters in this film, other than they are not concentrated on. It kind of reminded me of that in American Pie 1. You have the surprisingly mature women and the surprisingly immature women.

    SPOILER

    I will admit that if the Becca character did not end up going the route she did, if she and Evan have in fact slept together, I would have lost respect for the film. But again, I am not a female so I don’t think my judgment on this matter means squat. Some would say that the same could be said for MaryAnn’s judgment of men.

  • Josh

    LOL Reading over Ebert’s * * * 1/2 review of the film, he consistently tries to convince the readers that, while he loved the film, he does not condone what teens do.
    From the review

    (Note: Underage drinking is WRONG.)

    They have heard about girls who get drunk and sleep with the wrong guy, and their modest ambition is simply to be the wrong guy.(Note: There is a thin line between being the wrong guy and being a criminal.)

    (Note: Let’s stop these notes and make a blanket announcement: This movie was made by professionals. Do not attempt any of this behavior yourself.)

    LOL Funny although I still wonder how much better Super Bad would be if it did not become disjointed and contradictory in the final minutes. Those are fine minutes but they don’t blend with the rest of the film, except maybe portraying that swift slap of reality that each teen gets when they realize what they are doing is wrong.

  • Josh

    Interesting.. While Stephen Hunter compared Super Bad to American Graffiti, Roeper compared it to Lucas, Dazed and Confuzed and My Bodyguard and Ebert compares it to Animal House but adds that Super Bad is more mature, as all movies are.

    And Ebert ends his review with

    “I remember in eighth grade some kid asked how long you could entertain an impure thought before it got upgraded from a venial to a mortal sin. “There aren’t rules for things like that,” the sister explained, “but I’d say that after five seconds, you’re asking for it.” The kid and his buddy went down to his basement to study his dad’s collection of Playboys, and he got a stopwatch and had his buddy punch him in the arm every four seconds.”

    LMAO OK, that would be a wonderful scene for a film like this

  • MaryAnn

    Tyler wrote:

    It is just a crude comedy and I wouldn’t apply the same standards to “Adaptation” as I do “Superbad”

    I’m not doing that.

    I don’t see what’s wrong with most of the female characters in the movie. They aren’t explored

    THAT’s what’s wrong.

    I don’t think the characters ever appear to be terrified of women aside from their shyness

    If standing behind a girl and miming in a big, aggressive, vulgar way fucking her with kitchen equipment isn’t demonstrating a fear and perhaps even dislike of women — a fear that the guy is attempting to overcome and control with his outrageous aggression — then what does it connote?

    The joke may be about period blood and the guys at the party act like idiots but I don’t think the nature of the joke is that “there could be no greater indignity than getting a bit of period blood on you.”

    Then what is the nature of the joke?

    MBI wrote:

    how can you assume that the film approves of their actions? They end with one guy getting puked on by a girl, and the other one faceplanting and humiliating himself in front of him. How is that approval?

    This would be like asking, How can you say this movie approves of Nazi atrocities? Just because it shows the committing of war crimes in a positive light, and as a whole lotta fun? I mean, they lost the war in the end, didn’t they?

    Josh wrote:

    I noticed that these guys that were nearing on 60 still acted the same way the kids in Super Bad do when given the chance.

    And people wonder why I’m not married.

    The film certainly does not have the heart and substance that the first American Pie film had.

    *American Pie* had heart and substance? I really must be from another planet.

  • Tyler Foster

    I still don’t think that’s fear of women. I don’t know where you get that. Guys actually have a history of doing stuff merely to amuse other guys. I imagine it’s the same for women too. It may be offensive but I wouldn’t call it either fear or hatred. In suggesting that it represents, for the movie or for real people, a deeper meaning than just being stupid and rowdy, you would in fact be applying a higher standard than “crude comedy” to the characters and the film. It’s not that you can’t call it stupid, but I think that’s all it qualifies as.

  • Tyler Foster

    I’ll clarify in advance: I imagine that women have a history of doing things that are intended simply to be amusing, although I don’t literally mean standing behind a guy and pretending to have sex with him while the guy isn’t looking.

    A lot of the things people do have deep-seated meanings, perhaps every single one of them. But that doesn’t mean all of them need to be explored because oftentimes the simplest reason is the correct reason.

  • josh

    Mary Ann, I do not think that it’s that you are from another planet. I think you just don’t connect with what others see in movies like this. Was just reading something the other day that was explaining, as I did to you, that Knocked Up resembles experiences and conversations right out of real life, although heightened for comedic effect. I don’t feel that Super Bad connect entirely in that same way but it does allow people to reminisce about their own times of being what was wild and crazy but mistaken then as “bad ass”

    Now about the menstruation on the pants scene, I admit that I smiled at the scene and maybe laughed in a nervous way, but my initial reaction was OMG because I don’t see why each of these films needs to use bodily function as humor. Interesting thing is that the theater was filled with an equal number of men and women. There was two types of laughter during that scene. Nervous laughter, such as mine, and roll on the floor laughing. Guess which gender was more likely to do which? Nervous= Male Laugh Out Loud = Female. It surprised me as well

  • Joe

    “Superbad* is merely approving of adolescent idiocy because it is written from an adolescent perspective that has yet to move beyond that.”

    I feel like I saw a completly different movie here. I don’t think it’s approving of it, but rather mocking it in a kind of “was I really like that way”. The posturing cluelessness and idiocy is meant to be laughed at not cheered. The fear/obssesion with women and sex. The homophobia. It’s all meant to be laughed at as absurb. The same way I laugh and cringe about some of things I said or did at that age.

    The two cops are not meant to be cool, but scary and moronic. There supposed to be the bad end of the road, the guys who never do grow up. I think that the movie does hint that the main characters eventually will.

  • Josh

    Joe, while I agree that the cops were meant to be moronic, I also saw them to be played as ‘cool.’ It just does not fit the mature nature of other aspects of the film. While I don’t doubt that some police officers will try to act cool to get respect from youngsters, this film takes it to an absurd level. Very funny but belongs in a different film.

    MaryAnn, why did you respond by saying “And people wonder why I’m not married” when I mentioned that there are lots of people who occasionaly revert back to this immature behavior and that’s why older audiences relate? It seems you thought I was addressing only how the 60 year old men were acting. I’m possibly putting words into your mouth again but I just want you to clarify. I was refering to both the men and the women when I was talking about my mothers high school reunion. It is rather funny to see a woman in her 60’s, drunk of her butt and telling a very dirty joke that ends with her grabbing her crotch LOL Just glad my mom did not act that way in front of me too.

    MaryAnn, while your review kind of indicates that this film is a male fantasy and driven film, I decided to check out how the female critics at Tomatoes thought of the film. Out of all of the female critics, 22 out of 26 of them gave it a positive review. Even the husband and wife team from a spirituality website gave it a thumbs up, which I found funny. Never before how male dominated the film criticism world is though, even when I was a critic myself. You’re in a field surrounded my men, just as I am now in a field surrounded by mostly women =)

    I did also find some interesting facts about the autobiographical nature of Super Bad. The writers actually did have a friend named Fogel in school. Also, while I found the references to Dr. Strangelove, Vietnam, Tiananmen Square and Orson Welles hysterically brilliant, these things are all referenced in the Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” LOL

  • MaryAnn

    I imagine that women have a history of doing things that are intended simply to be amusing, although I don’t literally mean standing behind a guy and pretending to have sex with him while the guy isn’t looking.

    Okay, imagine this. Imagine that — merely for the entertainment of another woman — a gal mimed grabbing a man by the dick and castrating him. It’s just a joke, right? It’s not real, any more than Seth was actually vigorously pounding his penis into that girl without her knowledge or consent. Right?

    Out of all of the female critics, 22 out of 26 of them gave it a positive review.

    I never pretended my perspective was that of all women, and clearly, it isn’t.

  • MaryAnn

    Guys actually have a history of doing stuff merely to amuse other guys.

    True. And I’m exploring why some people find it amusing — stuff is “funny” for a reason, and that reason is sometimes worth exploring. Just because YOU don’t think more about why things are the way they are doesn’t mean there isn’t a “why” there to talk about.

  • Tyler Foster

    “Okay, imagine this. Imagine that — merely for the entertainment of another woman — a gal mimed grabbing a man by the dick and castrating him. It’s just a joke, right? It’s not real, any more than Seth was actually vigorously pounding his penis into that girl without her knowledge or consent. Right?”

    Um…exactly. I don’t have any problem with this, as long as it doesn’t actually happen, and I doubt Seth would actually stand in front of a room full of people and rape some girl for no reason. (I admit that Seth is a cruder and dumber character than Evan but I still don’t think he would do that.)

    “True. And I’m exploring why some people find it amusing — stuff is “funny” for a reason, and that reason is sometimes worth exploring. Just because YOU don’t think more about why things are the way they are doesn’t mean there isn’t a “why” there to talk about.”

    It seems to me that with most guys, who are, to be honest, simpletons, the act of understanding why stupid jokes are funny to them won’t actually lead to any sort of awakening against it. Eventually most of us (although not all of us, judging by this thread) grow out of it, and I think the movie is less celebrating that and more, as another user said, an outrageous reminder of when we used to be that stupid, and pointing out that drunken sex might have sounded like fun but it isn’t the key to being “Superbad”, it’s having good friends and attempting to be a relatively civilized person (which again, Seth may be a little hard to prove but certainly Evan is that kind of guy).

  • Tyler Foster

    Plus I think guys are often inspired by the friends they hang out with and while this is a silly thing to say, because it’s a movie, I would think that Evan’s niceness would probably rub off on Seth before long.

  • Josh

    “Okay, imagine this. Imagine that — merely for the entertainment of another woman — a gal mimed grabbing a man by the dick and castrating him. It’s just a joke, right? It’s not real, any more than Seth was actually vigorously pounding his penis into that girl without her knowledge or consent. Right?”

    I think I would probably laugh my ass off if a woman did that, more so than seeing something like Seth was doing.

  • Josh

    I would not call the character of Seth stupid. He was making references to Tiananmen Square and Dr. Strangelove as a child and brings up Orson Welles in the film too. Of course stupid people can do all of this but I think that Seth is a very bright person who is just an extremely immature jackass, which makes it hard to relate to the character. None of the leads in the first American Pie really acted like this. They were all nice guys. Stifler was the exception and a minor character. He was treated like an ass in the first film, not as someone they boys enjoyed hanging with.

    And about the period part of the film, what makes it even more disturbing is that the actress in the film is listed in the credits not by a name or as so and so’s girlfriend. The credits just say “Period Blood Girl.” Wow, imagine that on a resume. The possibility of this actress someday becoming famous and people referring to her first role as Period Blood Girl is far more hysterical than the actual scene in the film.

  • MBI

    Josh: The American Pie scene you added just makes the movie seem hypocritical in a way that Superbad is not. I think Superbad has much more clarity than American Pie. I will admit that American Pie has a heart — one made completely of plastic, though.

    MaryAnn: I would have to know what Superbad’s war crimes are before I can answer that criticism. Like, you would have to be specific and say, “Superbad thinks it’s okay that _____.” If we’re talking about the cops, then yeah, I can agree with whatever you want to put in that blank, the cops are the biggest problem there. But as far as the kids are concerned? I think it’s perfectly fine that the teenagers are teenagers. Yeah, Seth mimes fucking Jules behind her back, but yes, that’s because he’s hiding his deep fear of women. The movie doesn’t pretend otherwise; if it did, you would have a stronger case. You need to see something like Porky’s if you want something that genuinely legitimizes all the negative aspects of adolescence.

  • trevor

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but you’re just wrong. This is the funniest movie I’ve seen in ages. My wife loved it too. We’re both in our 30s and Ivy League graduates (not that that means much–but it should disprove the fact that this movie can only be enjoyed by stupid boys).

  • Jurgan

    I’m probably wasting my time talking about a movie I haven’t seen- this conversation is getting really confusing. Still, there is something that I have to ask.

    Maryann, you said that you liked You and Me and Dupree, or at least Wilson’s character, better because the movie does not belittle him for his drug-using slacker behavior. However, you also criticize Superbad for glorifying the main characters’ adolescent behavior. As I understand it, you said that Knocked Up puts down its main character too much, and Superbad puts down its main characters not enough. Is this a case of finding a happy medium, or am I missing something here?

  • MaryAnn

    It’s cases of apples and oranges, Jurgan. I don’t want *Superbad* to “put down” its characters: I want it to deal with what it depicts beyond a 13-year-old level. I don’t think it does that.

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but you’re just wrong. [I am an] Ivy League graduate…

    *sigh*

  • Roy

    Edited version

    Hmmm…how do I get into this verbal tennis match?

    I wasn’t planning to see the film, but I changed my mind. If anything, it’s a great film, and yet Maryann has a great point about maturity that’s in the film, “Clerks 2” where you don’t have to be like the guy working at a insurance firm or be a lout who’s unemployed.

    Being a geek, I related to the characters when I was high school, wanting respect and having a high-class girlfriend, but I realized that being myself was the way to survive the jungle of adolescene. Though I’m graduated from high school and college, I don’t have a stable job or friends because of my individualistic disposition. I also yelled, cried and threw chairs at idiots who got on my nerves. I even threw a less-than-suitable girl who made fun of me against a third-story window. Am I worthless while being violent? Nah, just misunderstood, which a lot of people sometimes feel, but not a lot of people want to admit it. Hell, I even wrote a screenplay about my high school experiences, but I don’t begrudge Hollywood for not noticing. Someone has to be a better person.

    I think “Superbad” doesn’t just work because of its easy relatability to the main leads, but also a questioning of social/sexual identities and the inability to relate to each other.

    (SPOILERS) Becca’s the nice girl, but she’s a succubus when souced. Jules’s the prima donna, but doesn’t drink for fear of her parents’s wrath. Are these misogynistic potrayals? More like twisting stereotypes like a cork screw, and both Seth and Evan surprised by them, embarrassed for having unrealistic expectations from them. Fogell gets the real with Nicola deal but Officers Slater and Michaels are great contraceptions, relating to Fogell.

    The only characters that really get the short end of the stick are the “cool” kids who spit on or ignore Seth and Evan, and rightfully so. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is the unspoken mantra in all high schools, and people wonder why there are school shootings. I dare not condone them; I know how the killers feel.

    Maybe, Maryann, you should ask someone who has a kid who’s currently in high school (preferring a boy) who doesn’t fit in and has the feelings the main characters of “Superbad”. Adults, especially the ones who don’t like the film, have forgotten what it was like to be kids, maybe out of personal embarrassment, and it’s kind of ironic because every generation, past and present, has had their adolescent social losers, and they can see themselves in this film.

  • I’m not going to bother seeing this movie, despite adoring George Michael, er, I mean Michael Cera, because it really does look stupid.

    But I’m okay with it being stupid. I still say that whether that is an “okay” place for American culture to be or not, it’s pretty much were our culture has been for your entire lifetime. It’s a fact of life, and getting so bent out of shape about it seems rather absurd to me.

    Then again, I didn’t have to sit though it.

    Oh, and a couple of thoughts on your comments, Mary Ann:

    Firstly,
    “I most certainly do not gloss over the worldview of *300.* Perhaps I disagree with you what it is, but that’s not at all the same thing.”

    I’m closer to John in regards to about 300. I found it to be a ridiculous glorification of militarism, and IMO it says far worse things about American culture though it’s not nearly as bad in that regard as 24 or Hostel (and actually, I do admit to somewhat enjoying the stupid internet humor spawned by it, much of which is both very subversive and at the expense of its pompous self-seriousness).

    But as for your comment, well, that seems to be exactly what most of the people who disagree with you about the Apatow movies have been saying: that they disagree with you about what the movies’ worldview actually is.

    “But it’s not about the “message.” It’s about the tone and attitude with which the “message” is presented. I don’t see how I can be any clearer about that.”
    But it’s not that you aren’t being clear, it’s that you disagree as to what that tone and attitude actually is, just as you and I do over 300.

    Secondly,
    “Okay, imagine this. Imagine that — merely for the entertainment of another woman — a gal mimed grabbing a man by the dick and castrating him. It’s just a joke, right? It’s not real, any more than Seth was actually vigorously pounding his penis into that girl without her knowledge or consent. Right?”

    …I actually do think that sounds hilarious and totally okay.

  • amanohyo

    I agree that American culture may have been stupid for quite some time now, but you have to admit that the mainstream celebration and acceptance of that stupidity has definitely been on the rise (must… resist… Bush… joke). Racism has lasted for many generations in America, certainly longer than my entire lifetime, but that doesn’t mean that when I see a racist joke I shrug and say “I’m okay with it being racist, I won’t get bent out of shape about it.”

    As far as most people disagreeing with the “worldview” of this movie. The movie is written from the perspective of two horny, male teenagers and it never really rises above that. The world they live in is extremely small, and their view of that already tiny world is from the darkest depths of male adolescent ignorance. I don’t think that MA and the fans of this movie disagree much on this point.

    I do agree that the castration example doesn’t quite communicate the disgusting nature of a mimed rape “joke” (although if a strange girl walked up and did it to you with a vigorous sawing motion you might feel differently). How about this: You are at a bar talking to a friend, and a large gay man you know walks up behind your friend (who doesn’t know your gay buddy) and does a few pelvic thrusts. That’s pretty funny too isn’t it?

    How about if a girl you don’t know pulls out a dildo and pretends to rape you with it when your back is turned? Pretty hilarious right? But in order to really understand why the joke is so offensive, you’d have to imagine that there was also a well established history of women raping men with dildos against their will, and of course we’d have to live in a matriarchal society…

  • MBI

    “I don’t think that MA and the fans of this movie disagree much on this point.”

    I, for one, disagree strongly.

    *Racism has lasted for many generations in America, certainly longer than my entire lifetime, but that doesn’t mean that when I see a racist joke I shrug and say “I’m okay with it being racist, I won’t get bent out of shape about it.”*

    That’s what I do, and I say that as someone who’s not only heard a lot of racist jokes but who’s been the object of a lot of racist jokes. I really find it difficult to care. This is off the subject a little, but I’m sick of the hysterical demonization of everything that could be deemed racist. You don’t sound to me like a person who knows what they’re talking about.

    As far as the jokes you’re describing — like the guy above you, I say “hilarious and perfectly okay.” I don’t really think that making obscene gestures behind someone’s back really qualifies as a “rape” joke.

    And as far as 300 goes, it IS a ridiculous glorification of militarism. And Goodfellas is a glorification of a life of crime. And Disney movies fetishize princesses and aristocracy and hideous patriarchal systems. And action movies glorify violence. So what? If you hate cops, does that mean you can’t enjoy cop movies? I’m sorry, people, but sometimes you have to take movies on their own terms. And as for Superbad, I don’t agree — don’t completely agree, at least — that it glorifies stupidity, but you know what does? Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. And Dude, Where’s My Car, while we’re on the subject. Cheech and Chong movies. The Jerk. Let me say right now, anyone who wants to diss The Jerk for being a celebration of stupidity goes immediately on the shitlist.

  • amanohyo

    If anything, when it comes to racism at least, I know too much. I’m honestly wish I was able to “find it difficult to care” about racist insults as a child. I ignored the daily namecalling and threats (all harmless jokes of course) as best I could, but I never quite managed to stop myself from caring.

    I doubt the clueless teenager who thrusts his pelvis behind a girl without her knowledge would make the mental connection between his actions and rape either, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    And I don’t go into a movie with any terms other than to be entertained. I’m not even sure what “taking a movie on its own terms” means. When I go to an action movie like 300, and it fails to move me emotionally, is it because I didn’t accept its terms? When I watch a teen comedy like Superbad and none of the jokes make me laugh is it because I have not accepted its terms? Who am I negotiating with? My brain?

    “Okay, brain, I have a message from the movie. Remember those jokes that were funny when you were 13, but aren’t funny anymore? Well, the movie demands that you find them funny again. Do you accept these terms?”

    I think you somehow believe that this movie is fundamentally, in an objective, universal sense, funny. By your logic, I have some sort of PC filter (the notorious stick) that unfairly stops “the funny” from causing the laughter that it obviously should in all intelligent life. Even if that were true (and I think that’s a gross oversimplification), I’m not really able to turn that filter off consciously. In the end, the movie just isn’t funny to me.

    I think the major issue is that in this review, MA makes an assumption about the type of person that can derive “any enjoyment at all” from the movie. That’s always a dangerous thing to do.

    Here’s a question: In order to find most of the jokes funny is it enough to simply remember what it was like to be (or know) a horny male teen? Or is it necessary to actually assume the adolescent male teen mindset? For me, the script/structure/direction of the movie force the viewer to take the second route in order to derive any kind of amusement from the proceedings.

    And question two: Everyone agrees that the behavior of the characters is realistic, but is the behavior of the characters inevitable and excusable (they’re just stupid horny young guys, after all)? Or should we view the characters’ behavior as evidence of a culture that continues to objectify women and excuse ignorance? For me, the tone/attitude of the movie leads me to the second perspective.

    Fans of the movie seem to all have the opposite answers. They think it’s funny because they can remember being a horny teen, and the behavior is excusable because, you know, that’s what teenaged guys are really like. I understand that perspective; I just don’t share it. If I am required to have that perspective in order to enjoy the movie, then I guess I’m not taking the movie on its own terms, but I had to figure out those terms by actually watching the movie.

    Whew… that was long. That’s one reason I respect MA, she can say so much, so clearly, with so few words.

  • Josh

    How has the portrayal of stupidity been on the rise? Only someone who is really searching hard to find reasons to dislike these films would make such statements. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, but this type of infantile humor has been around for decades. I also find it disturbing that so many people on here are willing to make judgments about the films that are reviewed without even seeing them just because of what MaryAnn says. While no critic is at fault for giving their own opinion, MaryAnn will take it to the next level, attempting to make the audience that did enjoy the film feel bad about themselves. Reminds me of the other critic that used to write for the paper I did years ago. He would do the same thing. In his review of Gosford Park he wrote that anyone who would enjoy a film like that should get their head examined. I guess I just wish we lived in society where people were free to make up their own opinions instead of merely following someone else’s lead. I know I will never see that day but it’s a dream of mine.

  • MaryAnn

    Roy wrote:

    Maybe, Maryann, you should ask someone who has a kid who’s currently in high school (preferring a boy) who doesn’t fit in and has the feelings the main characters of “Superbad”. Adults, especially the ones who don’t like the film, have forgotten what it was like to be kids, maybe out of personal embarrassment, and it’s kind of ironic because every generation, past and present, has had their adolescent social losers, and they can see themselves in this film.

    I remember high school perfectly well : I didn’t fit in too well, either. And still, I hate the film. Weird.

    Joey wrote:

    Okay, imagine this. Imagine that — merely for the entertainment of another woman — a gal mimed grabbing a man by the dick and castrating him. It’s just a joke, right? It’s not real, any more than Seth was actually vigorously pounding his penis into that girl without her knowledge or consent. Right?”

    …I actually do think that sounds hilarious and totally okay.

    Hmm. Perhaps you might feel differently if women violently attacked men in an agressively sexual way at the same level of prevalence that it happens the other way.

    MBI wrote:

    anyone who wants to diss The Jerk for being a celebration of stupidity goes immediately on the shitlist.

    I love *The Jerk,* and I don’t think it celebrates stupidity: it satirizes it. I also really like the Bill & Ted movies and found *Dude, Where’s My Car* far more charming than I thought I would. The differences between those films and *Superbad* are, in part, that the dumb characters are nevertheless pretty sweet and pleasant. Yes, the Michael Cera character here is pretty sweet, but he — and the film — are completely dominated by the angry and very unpleasant Seth.

    Josh wrote:

    How has the portrayal of stupidity been on the rise?

    The portrayal per se may not be on the rise. The way it is portrayed and the widespread acceptability of active stupidity — combined with an out-and-out denigration of anything that is smarter — has been on the rise for decades. If stupidity were celebrated at the same time that intellectualism was, too (I don’t mean in the same movie, but in the culture at large), that might be okay. But that’s not the case: idiots are celebrated, brains are disparaged.

    While no critic is at fault for giving their own opinion, MaryAnn will take it to the next level, attempting to make the audience that did enjoy the film feel bad about themselves.

    I’m not trying to do that. I figure those people aren’t reading my stuff anyway, and if they are: well, who the hell made me an authority on anything other than my own opinion. Maybe I’m obnoxious about my opinion sometimes — doesn’t that just make it easier to dismiss that opinion when you disagree with me?

    In his review of Gosford Park he wrote that anyone who would enjoy a film like that should get their head examined.

    See, that just makes me laugh. Cuz I love that movie. And I know I don’t need my head examined just because some other critic didn’t like it.

    I guess I just wish we lived in society where people were free to make up their own opinions instead of merely following someone else’s lead.

    Is someone stopping anyone from making up their own minds about anything? Cuz that would be wrong.

  • vigeorgio

    MaryAnn wouldn’t know funny if a clown kicked in her fucking teeth.

  • MaryAnn

    Ah, the wit and charm of vigeorgio convinces me. *Superbad* is a comedy classic. I can see it so clearly now.

  • Josh

    There’s no need to resort to immature vulgarity to have a discussion on here. I can see why MaryAnn gets frustrated with some of the yahoos that come on here.

    MaryAnn – Did not mean that you were stopping people from making up their minds. I just get tired of readers that take a critics word to either like or dislike a film. It bothers me when I see people write “I was looking forward to seeing the film after seeing the ads and reading that it had good reviews, but your review has persuaded me not to.” That there is just an insane response and is further proof of societies inability to independently make decisions in their life. If one person can persuade you not to see a movie, it scares me what else the person can be persuaded to do, especially in the political atmosphere we are in now.

    And, while you and I know you would not agree, lots of highly intelligent people claim SuperBad to be more a celebration of intelligence rather than stupidity. That’s their choice.

    And about the Gosford Park thing, it made me feel good at the time because his review bashing people that liked the film was right next to my very glowing review of the film.

  • Arco

    MaryAnn, I gotta say, it’s depressing. Every time there’s another one of those movies that try to pretend there’s something novel about notions like “Men are horny moronic slobs” or “teenage boys are, like, horny’n stuff”, I know your review will draw a comments page like this.

    And it’s depressing! I’m male. I was a horny teenage geeky/nerdy boy who didn’t get a second glance from girls in high school, but or the life of me, I can never find anything to latch on to in these things.

    (Nor in Knocked Up either, even though I’m now a married adult. Then again I’m happily married so maybe that’s the reason there…)

    Thing is though, even though I agree with your reviews on these movies(the wife and I get headaches from eye-rolling when those trailers come on) I have no problem with other people liking them. To each their own.

    But that they have to come here, most of them clearly knowing beforehand that you will have a negative review, basically looking for a fight…that’s depressing. (It also means they’ve technically crossed over from freely expressing their opinions into straight-out trolling) That they have to religiously defend the ugliest, most cliched, pathetic aspects of the so-called ‘average male’….holy crap.

    Is it true then? Is this the average male? From the movies and the sitcoms? Borish, loutish, juvenile, emotionally stuck in early teens, insensitive, uncaring and only finding humor in farting and belching?? And they’re PROUD of it?? And they feel that’s how it SHOULD be? And if you’re not like that or you can’t love it like they do, there must not only be something wrong with you but you must be viciously attacked and insulted??

    WTF??

    Depressing. I need booze…

  • MaryAnn

    It bothers me when I see people write “I was looking forward to seeing the film after seeing the ads and reading that it had good reviews, but your review has persuaded me not to.” That there is just an insane response and is further proof of societies inability to independently make decisions in their life.

    Well, point taken, but isn’t part of the point of what we do as film critics to help steer people toward movies they might like, and away from movies they might not like? Now, I’m not saying anyone should take the word of any single critic as gospel, and certainly no one who’s never read any other reviews of mine should refuse to see *Superbad* based solely on my negative review. But it’s absolutely conceivable that someone who reads my stuff all the time and can accurately judge how closely my taste in movies aligns with his/hers could usefully use my review as a good guide to whether he/she will like this movie, or won’t. Right?

  • MBI

    Ah, so here we go. It’s not the stupidity that’s the problem at all: It’s the crudity. Well, I can’t persuade you to like the Seth character and I shouldn’t try to. Defending my own position, though, I laughed at the character’s assault on good taste, and I think he had his heart in the right place when it mattered.

    Now, answering tangential comments: As for racist jokes, I gained my philosophy on it from “Harold and Kumar,” which is that life’s too short to let racist idiots get you down. I mean, yes, sometimes I get angry, like when I caught a couple assholes laughing about that horrible accident that killed those 200 unfortunate Mexicans a couple years back.** But for the most part, I don’t automatically assume racist jokes to promote racism any more than I assume dead baby jokes to promote infanticide.

    If you didn’t like 300, that’s fine, as long as you thought it failed on its own terms and not for really stupid reasons like it glorifies militarism. That’s a horrible reason.

    **Three-car pileup on I-90. A truly tragic event.

  • MaryAnn

    It’s not the stupidity that’s the problem at all: It’s the crudity.

    I’m not sure if this is directed at me. If it is, then no: it’s not either or both necessarily but how they’re presented here. Hell, *Borat* is crude in a lot of ways, and that was one of my best films of last year.

  • Josh

    You’re right, although I always tried to fashion my reviews in a way that people would be looking forward to reading them because they liked the writing, not to decide on whether to see a film or not. That’s what I think sets film critics apart from movie reviewers. Pauline Kael was a classic example of a critic. She hated a lot of stuff that was loved by the public, and was even mean-spirited at times. Her followers read her stuff religiously because they enjoyed her, not because they wanted to know her opinion on a certain picture. I guess you are like that too MaryAnn. People don’t agree but they still come back to read.

  • Josh

    And again, about the Seth character, it’s hard to defend his actions in the film but he is endearing. He’s endearing because, if you were like me, you had some friends that were like him. You knew they were immature losers but you had fun when you were around them. They made you laugh. These were the kind of kids that, even if you tried your hardest, you could not change their behavior. Some of my most memorable times have been hanging out with people just like Seth.

  • MBI

    Crap, I thought I managed to delete that post before it went through. Ah well.

  • william shakespear

    > After Affleck’s Oscar, he also wrote, How To Win At Poke-Her? MTV ROCKS! Gore lost (to Nader!) so the Google boys put him on their Board, then bought themselves Boeing 757’s. EAT SALTY SNACKS! What this country really needs are more fat women on top. MSNBC LIVES! Gay (bashing) is not a choice. AMERICAN EXPRESS! I fear that who gets portrayed by Hollywood as the hero/villian will eventually get Abigail Breslen blacklisted. MTV RULES! If we truely are destroying the earth why are there beautiful women named Greta? BUY GOLD! Who’s on 1st? Drugs. What’s on 2nd? Rehab. I don’t own? 3rd base! GUNS+GASOLINE=FUN! NSA calls blogging (in english) from Japan, Inta-Netta-Geeko. 1-800-NUT-SACK! The career suicide screenplay; 10 Things I hate About Jews. PLAYBOY MANSION! When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way…until King Kong shows-up! PUNCTUATION? WE DON’T NEED NO STINK’N PUNCTUATION! Bottomline, I don’t agree with alot of Pres. Bushs’ policies, but he (and Laura) get up everyday and do the job. And Superbad I don’t like either, still it is another quality (American studio) production.

  • Drave

    Okay, I finally saw it, just to give myself the moral authority to weigh in on this discussion. For my background, I am someone who has read this site religiously for at least six or seven years now. I find that my opinion is in line with MaryAnn’s maybe 80% of the time. Our top ten lists tend to be relatively identical, although our tastes often diverge wildly in the middle ground, and I have given a B or B+ to a few movies that she has given an F- to.

    Anyway, what I took away from Superbad was pretty different from anything I have read here. I think what the director was going for, and what he almost succeeded in, was in making sort of a “one last fling” story about two best friends growing out of each other for good. In my opinion, the movie fails in two major ways. First, it makes Seth too unlikeable, to the point where it’s hard to understand why Evan likes him at all. Evan is pretty much the same person at the end that he was at the beginning. The only way in which he changes at all is that he stops listening to Seth altogether.

    Second, the cops are thrown head-over-heels past the line between reality and cartoonish parody. They simply do not work as real people in a real story. They belong in a movie more like Harold and Kumar; a zany, absurdist romp which makes no pretense of reality or meaning. I actually enjoyed the bits with McLovin and the cops far more on their own terms than I did the story of Seth and Evan. Mainly because, as I said, Seth is so fundamentally unappealing, but also because their story is the one that was trying (and not altogether succeeding) to say something about the human condition.

    I spent a lot of the movie baffled at what exactly they were shooting for, but the mall scene at the end is what revealed what I believe to be the movie’s intentions. The shot of Seth (childhood, stupidity, ignorance) going down the escalator while Evan (maturity, intelligence, wisdom) recedes into the distance for good seems to be an attempt at poignancy and symbolism, but it doesn’t really work in the light of what has gone before. I had to put a day between seeing the movie and writing about it before the connection sank in. Basically, where I think the movie fails is in trying to straddle the line between coming-of-age story and shameless gross-out romp. This is a very difficult thing to do, and falling too far into one side will invalidate the other. I am disappointed in the movie, not because I found it completely unenjoyable, but because I found things to like about it, and they were elbowed in the gut by the film’s numerous faults.

    Take note, other commenters. I have just disagreed pretty strongly with MaryAnn about a number of aspects of this film, and yet I have not insulted her in the slightest! *gasp*

  • MaryAnn

    Take note, other commenters. I have just disagreed pretty strongly with MaryAnn about a number of aspects of this film, and yet I have not insulted her in the slightest! *gasp*

    Well, come ON. You barely even TRIED to insult me!

  • John P.

    “This would be like asking, How can you say this movie approves of Nazi atrocities? Just because it shows the committing of war crimes in a positive light, and as a whole lotta fun? I mean, they lost the war in the end, didn’t they?”

    Wow, and I got flack for referencing Raging Bull in the Knocked Up thread.

    I guess the reason I’ve enjoyed Apatow’s movies thus far – while generally loathing films of the American Pie/The Girl Next Door variety – is that they betray what seems to me to be a modicum of self-awareness that those other films lack. When Seth says he needs to see dicks in his pornography because seeing a vagina by itself is ‘not for him’, it’s not funny because I agree with him. It’s funny because I used to agree with him, and because I can draw pretty direct lines between the idiots in this movie and my own idiotic teenaged former self. I think Superbad is far more perceptive and honest about the mindset of teenage boys than the endless sentimentalized Wonder Years variations that are out there – and at the same time, it maintains more of a distance from its protagonists than the latest Seann William Scott Wants To Fuck Your Mom Get It LOL sequel on the market. Am I making this silly comedy out to be more than it is? Yeah, probably.

    I definitely agree that the girls in these films are severely underdeveloped, and I see that as the central problem of the Apatow and Co. oeuvre – sure, the guys are dicks, but at least they’re dicks with personalities that we kind of get to know. I would love to see a film that gets teenage girls right, and no, I don’t count Mean Girls.

    MaryAnn, would I be way off base in thinking that this one-sidedness is one of the deciding factors in your distaste for these movies?

  • william shakespear

    Lately I’ve been think’in, how much I miss my
    baby…Okay kids, before I have to jump back in
    my time machine and take your leave let’s cut to
    the chase. Flick Filosopher is a success web-site
    with interesting, insightful and funny commentary
    & information about filmed entertainment…I am
    not as smart as MaryAnn. Most of my ideas come
    from plain ol’ dumb-ass pattern recognition.
    Point being, as MaryAnn has explained recently,
    the movie biz don’t want smart. For decades now
    they bin head’n the other way. So what/how is this
    relevant to FlickFilosopher? Well again, as MaryAnn
    has mentioned, she’s kind of in the starving artist
    catagory, whereas the entertainment biz drowns in cash. And what I (maybe you too) have witnessed before is how someone [economic entity] will come along and make an offer that to MaryAnn looks like alot of $$$ but to the industry is a negliable amount. Of coarse with contract terms/language assuring MaryAnn keeps full control, but in reality it starts a slow (or fast) wind down of this independent voice before it can grow larger and do more harm to films like Superbad or Evan Almighty, which again as MaryAnn explained had a production budget equal to the GNP of a small Caribbean nation. Again this is all just speculation, but to buy this site (to eventually be shut down) could concievably cost less than the catering budget for one of these HOLLYWOOD behemoths. But we should be happy for the Flick Chick…and her rays-of-light.

  • Chris

    Wow, people sure do get personal. Mary even though Apatow didnt have a hand in the core writing of this script, I’m sure that since Mr. Rogen is his young pupil, that Mr. Aptow probably help with revising his script over the years. The whole part about Seth not going to the same school as Evan and Fogel screams Apatow’s main theme, change in a young man’s life. Now while this movie doesnt not have the full heart felt effect that Apatow directed movies do (though it seems you beg to differ on that) I still think it gets it’s point through. Kids do dumb things in order to impress people and most are afraid of facing change. Evan doesnt want to room with strangers, Seth is upset he’s not living with his buddy next year, both want to get “lucky” and both fail for different reasons. Mary I don’t know your age but I would think your more likely in your 30’s (no offense if you are younger) and if anything that may be why you dont laugh at this type of humor and that’s fine, I really dont understand how people loved Transformers but they did and I’m fine with that myself. I think though the main beef that most men will find with your review is simple, even though you are refering to the dumb cops, you are telling us what is not adult male behavior. In a way though those two cops to some people represent many 25-30 year old males who want to look cool to younger kids and cant seem to face the fact that they are now adults and must let their desire of being the most popular guy in room go. That simple comment will be enough to fuel the fires of every man on this board because in case you havent learned by now, all men are hard headed.

  • doa766

    “In related news, MaryAnn, you are my personal hero for having the ability to deal so gracefully with such overpowering stupidity.”

    I agree, sometimes I think the world should turn into a zombies like in 28 weeks later

  • Doa766

    MaryAnn> I really think you should stop talking to the people posting here, no matter how smart or spot on your responses are an idiot will never admit being an idiot or not having good taste or even accept that is posible that someone with knowledge offils has a different opinon

    I lost faith in mankind, so I dont discuss such things anymore

  • MaryAnn

    Chris wrote:

    Mary I don’t know your age but I would think your more likely in your 30’s

    When I make no secret of both my name and my age and still people feel like they have to guess about both… well, what does that say about how closely people pay attention to anything?

    all men are hard headed.

    And I’M accused of being anti-men…

    John P wrote:

    MaryAnn, would I be way off base in thinking that this one-sidedness is one of the deciding factors in your distaste for these movies?

    It’s part of it, but far from the only reason. And I think I’ve made those reasons perfectly clear.

  • Proteus

    From the moment I heard “Dartmouth” I began comparing this film to Animal House specifically, and framed in the light of the behavior in that movie, I don’t think there is a significant difference in the maturity or quality of the humor.

    I appreciate MaryAnn’s engaging of the film’s subjects, but as a review, I am not at all clear how funny she found the film. There’s a hint that there were some laughs, but no judgment I could find expressed how funny the film was, and I think in reading previous comments, it’s the lack of expression about how funny the film was that lead people to question MaryAnn’s interpretation.

    I had a great time watching this movie, and laughed at 3/4 of the jokes without reservation. 10-15% of the jokes didn’t work well for me – the laundry detergent thing (or were those fuel cannisters?) was completely mystifying for example. But the gross-out gags, including the gags about how grossed out the characters get, usually worked fairly well. There was nothing in the film I hadn’t seen before, but the overwhelming majority of jokes felt fresh and were pretty good.

    Still, it was designed to offend, to draw a line between those who are amused and those who are horrified. I think MaryAnn’s review demonstrate that it worked – and this is not to imply that she is a prude or is unhip. Lowbrow humor is less amusing to many audiences, and lowbrow humor centered around adolescence is naturally going to be repetitive, if not repulsive, when shown at feature-length.

    Still, I think Evan Almighty would be a greater example of why Hollywood sucks than theis kind of vulgar, pedestrian, low-brow comedy. I think this film worked, and it made me laugh.

  • “I appreciate MaryAnn’s engaging of the film’s subjects, but as a review, I am not at all clear how funny she found the film. There’s a hint that there were some laughs, but no judgment I could find expressed how funny the film was, and I think in reading previous comments, it’s the lack of expression about how funny the film was that lead people to question MaryAnn’s interpretation.”

    These people should learn to read between the lines. If a reviewer is reviewing a comedy and says that it’s offensive and stupid, it probably means that she found the parts that were supposed to be funny to be offensive and stupid. Very few people could laugh very hard at a movie and still dismiss it as offensive, stupid trash. My guess is that she found herself rolling her eyes, groaning, or getting angry at moments when she was expected to laugh. There may have been a couple exceptions, but I’d bet that that was the rule.

  • lunarangel01

    You know… Reading through all of these replies and posts, I’ve realized precisely how insecure people are with themselves.

    For some reason, MaryAnn, people NEED you to think this movie is ABSOLUTELYCRAZYFUCKING AWESOME! to validate THEIR OWN OPINIONS. THEY NEED YOU TO VALIDATE THEM. Come on MaryAnn, validate them. ;-)

    It’s not about what YOU think, because heaven forbid you have your own brain or opinion. It’s all about what THEY think.

    If these people were truly secure with themselves, why would they take the time to attack you? More than half of them aren’t trying to convince you why this movie is good… They are simply attacking what they assume is your lifestyle, and therefore your way of thinking.

    If they were truly secure with themselves and the way they live their lives and the opinions they have, they wouldn’t have to attack yours. Don’t you agree?

    It’s one thing to disagree with an OPINION, it’s another thing to attack a person. Personally, I think THAT is one of the saddest values of our American culture. Either we don’t know the difference… Or we don’t care, which is worse. Maybe it’s just the bully mentality, I don’t know. But it shows so much insecurity it’s unbelievable.

  • MBI

    See, the thing is, as much as people are insulting MaryAnn, it has to be pointed out that, y’know, she started it. She says she wasn’t trying to make people feel bad but the line that mature issues “must be unbroached by the audience, as well, for maximum enjoyment. Or, indeed, at enjoyment at all” is, in fact, a direct insult to fans of this movie. She may not have intended it as such, but that’s what it is. Personally, I think she has every right and reason to make a comment like that, but I also think that speculations on her own character are now fair game. Granted, many of the commenters’ counter-criticisms are bad and stupid, but I don’t fault them for trying, at least.

  • MaryAnn

    The comment about being secure is bang-on. Anyone who enjoyed this movie and knows themselves to be mature and grown up anyway should be able to laugh at my assertation about immaturity being required to enjoy this film.

    Is my review extreme? Is it obnoxious? Maybe it is. Take that as a measure of how freakin’ much I hate this movie. (And anyway, why is this movie allowed to be extreme and obnoxious but I’m not?)

    Oh, and anyone who can read this review and still wonder whether I found the film “funny” needs to seriously consider going back to elementary school.

    Oops, there I go, being obnoxious and insulting again…

  • Moe

    Looks like you might have a kindred soul in Time.
    This is just what i was talking about.
    Hollywood doesn’t think girls are funny.

    http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1653918,00.html

  • amanohyo

    That Corliss review is all over the place (which isn’t always a bad thing if you can manage the transitions well… which I can’t), and he talks about the homoerotic subtext of movies as if no one had noticed its presence in guy movies for the past several decades. It’s kinda like watching your grandpa wake up from a long nap.

    But, I do agree with his last paragraph. I long to see a movie about (not just with, ABOUT) funny, strong, multidimensional female characters that aren’t dominated by their relationships with guys. Just picking out one genre as an example, there are 5 billion coming of age books/stories/movies/tv shows for boys and it’s pretty tough to find any compelling ones for girls.

    Even an ancient movie like The Women, in which the titular characters are basically being catty and fighting over men the entire time, has females that are funnier and more complex than most contemporary mainstream comedies. I know there are exceptions (Fargo comes to mind) but women can be funny and interesting without stressing over men or appropriating teenage guy humor (they don’t even do that very often). Maybe I just haven’t seen the right movies yet.

    P.S. If anyone brings up Charlie’s Angels or Tomb Raider as examples of movies about funny, interesting female characters, I will vomit all over my keyboard.

  • MaryAnn

    Ya wanna see a movie that’s about horny adolescent girls, a movie that’s actually really good? Check out *All I Wanna Do.* I reviewed it here.

  • Sam M

    To MaryAnn:

    Look, i know what you’re doing. You love to argue. Moreover, you love to find things to shove in people’s faces in order to tell them how ignorant they are. Why am i so sure of this? Because i used to be just like you. What you REALLY need is a good boyfriend and something to do in your free time instead of checking to see how many people have commented your review (which is very well written, but doubtlessly crafted with the sole intent of stirring up shit among the countless people who found this film to be an instant classic) and bashing them this way and that.

    I know how much of a rush it is when you slam someone’s face in their own shit for no reason other than pleasure.

    Now, it would be hard for me to believe that you’re not already planning how to bash me up and tell me that i have NO idea about who you are and what you do, so go ahead. After all, im just a high school student shirking off my duties in Newspaper class, and i am aware of the fact that my opinions of the world and all of that other bullshit have not yet fully formed.

    Now seriously, please just do me a favor and admit that the predominant reason for your ill review is because of a pre bias and your sex. Seriously… just watch it again with an open mind. Lots of uneducated people liking a movie doesn’t ALWAYS mean that it’s overrated. I’m sure my request is a bit too large… but that’s fine. after watching it without bias, if you still find it immature and completely unhumerous, that’s fine.

    I will, however, tell you that i enjoyed your article on “Resurrecting the Champ” and that i will probably be citing it as an example of my opinion of the movie when the time comes for me to finish my newspaper article.

    P.S. my comment about how you needed a good boyfriend will probably be misconstrued (sp?) as a slam on your appearence/bitchiness/whatever most other people are probably saying; this was not my intention. i merely meant to say that you need something else to do…..

    but some of your responses to comments do lead me to believe that you’re a completely unatractive bitch (one that writes very well, mind you)

  • Sam M

    please excuse the repetative language and incorrect grammar that may be found throughout my previous comment. I’m in a bit of a hurry because school is about to let off……

    besides, i DID say i’m only in high school, so that should excuse some of my errors. haha

  • Sam M

    posted by vigeorgio (August 22, 2007 5:07 PM)

    MaryAnn wouldn’t know funny if a clown kicked in her fucking teeth.

    posted by MaryAnn (August 22, 2007 10:22 PM)

    Ah, the wit and charm of vigeorgio convinces me. *Superbad* is a comedy classic. I can see it so clearly now.

    haha

  • Ken

    Sam M: [Y]our review…is very well written, but doubtlessly crafted with the sole intent of stirring up shit among the countless people who found this film to be an instant classic and bashing them this way and that.

    Please explain how she could have written the review with the idea in mind that people consider it an instant classic when she posted her review on opening day, before the public had seen it. You fail at logic.

    some of your responses to comments do lead me to believe that you’re a completely unatractive bitch (one that writes very well, mind you)

    You do know how to charm the ladies, don’t you…

    I’m in a bit of a hurry because school is about to let off……

    Why do I get the feeling that for some, it never started?

  • “What you REALLY need is a good boyfriend”

    Oh, for the love of- Why is it that every woman with a strong opinion just needs to get laid more?

    “P.S. my comment about how you needed a good boyfriend will probably be misconstrued (sp?) as a slam on your appearence/bitchiness/whatever most other people are probably saying; this was not my intention. i merely meant to say that you need something else to do…..”

    Uh huh. And yet you picked “boyfriend” instead of, I don’t know, hobby or something. I didn’t think you were talking about appearance or whatever, I thought you were just saying the typical thing, that women who don’t have sex frequently enough are bitches. Of course, men who express strong opinions are perfectly normal.

    “but some of your responses to comments do lead me to believe that you’re a completely unatractive bitch”

    You know she’s got a picture on the front page, right?

    I hardly ever get to see movies in theaters anymore, but I’m glad I still come to this site: flaming trolls and morons is nearly as fun as discussing movies.

  • >>besides, i DID say i’m only in high school, so that should excuse some of my errors. haha

  • Sam M

    wow, tis IS fun!

    i will admit my fault here:

    Please explain how she could have written the review with the idea in mind that people consider it an instant classic when she posted her review on opening day, before the public had seen it. You fail at logic.

    oops.

    but this one is just hilarious:

    >>besides, i DID say i’m only in high school, so that should excuse some of my errors. haha

    it seems to me that there can be no “excuse” for someone who excoriates and abuses someone who they have never met, who has worked hard at her craft and is admittedly — even by your limited standards — a good writer.

    i think the person who needs to find something else to do is… you, sam. you might consider reading more reviews and seeing more movies, since it is obvious that, although perhaps you *need* a girlfriend, you’re never going to find one.

    i despair anew for our educational system and the future of our society.

    – what was that about abusing someone you’ve never met? XD haha! –

    another closed minded middle aged woman with a dried up cunt and a bone to pick with everyone?

    Jurgan –

    have you EVER been laid??

    haha!

    “You know she’s got a picture on the front page, right?”

    did i not say that her comments LEAD ME TO BELIEVE that she is an unatractive bitch?

    a picture is not needed in order to make assumptions

    ok… i guess im just having a little too much fun with people trying to show me my shortcommings as a human being

  • Sam M

    first line of my last post:

    tis = this

    typo

    my bad

  • Sam M

    wow, now don’t i feel like a complete idiot, i skimmed over her picture thinking it was one of those stupid singles site adds

    i thought that comment was sarcasm.

    upon my inspection of it:

    i give her about a 7 or so for her age….

    which is far better than what i expected….. my bad.

    like my opinion on it really matters though…

  • No, I’m quite sure Maryann will be up all night crying when she sees that she only ranks a 7 on a high schooler’s arbitrary scale. Just like I will weep over the suggestion that I may have never had sex. Also:

    “what was that about abusing someone you’ve never met? XD haha!”

    There’s a difference between coming to someone else’s site and unleashing personal attacks for no clear reason and someone pointing out that you do exactly that. Basically, defense is more noble than attack.

  • amanohyo

    *sigh* And people sometimes ask me why I quit teaching high school. It wasn’t the kids in the regular classes, it was the two or three spoiled “smart” boys in the honors and AP classes that wore me down with their sense of entitlement and monstrous, fragile egos. I’m not sure about the spoiled part, but I’m pretty insecure myself, and it’s pretty clear that this Sam guy is falling apart at the seams.

    Sam, ask yourself why you, an aspiring writer (or at least a student in a newspaper class), would come to a review site and immediately discuss the personal qualities of the reviewer without addressing the movie at all. Why are you bouncing back and forth from insults to praise? Does it have anything at all to do with the fact that MA is a woman?

    Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to post an actual mini-review, perhaps to make a compelling argument in favor of the movie — a chance to exercise your writing skills in a productive way?

    Ask yourself why you, someone who is “shirking off… duties” is telling MA, a person who has built her own site from scratch, that she “needs something else to do.” And then ask yourself why you and so many others feel the need to reduce a woman to a number or casually call them a bitch.

    Don’t worry about anticipating what other people are going to think about you and just try to answer those questions honestly, even if the answers might not put you in a good light. If you want to talk about movies, then this is a great place to be, but you really, reeeeally need to rethink your entrance routine.

  • Sam M

    ok look, to my chagrin, it was made apparent to me that i had already made a fool of myself before any responses to my comments were posted.

    but you know what? it really is just fun to get on here and say something that gets a bunch of people stirred up.

    it’s clear that some of the female protagonists here are actually trying to point out the flaws in my quips (numerous as they are) in a peaceful manner in an attempt to suggest i need to mature a deal before i go raping the minds of the readers with my opinions. i have no problem with that.

    but some of you….. man….
    why are you so offended by my initial post?
    get over it. i’m just having some fun. do you have to bring it down on yourself to try to straighten me out?

    and just to be clear, i am in no AP classes (i really don’t care about it)…. not that it matters

    i realize that my arguments were all very weak and unresearched (i didn’t even know this was her site!)…. and i appologize for that.

    i would also like to say that after my derogatory comments, it would be VERY selfish of me to assume that i had permission to use another of her article as a refference….. so i will refrain from doing so.

    but seriously… some of you. get over it, you’re never going to meet me, and i’ve never met a teenage guy who gave a damn what a 30+ year old blogger thought about him. so just have a laugh at my ignorance. don’t be defensive. just chillax :] .

    P.S. i happen to think that 7 is a very good rating!
    i’ve only given two 10s in my life (my friends and i get bored easily…. obvious?) and 9 is extrordinary. this would make 7 and 8 both very admirable scores. by making scores above 4.9 bad, it makes the really low scores seem a bit easier.
    7 was a compliment (even if it was a hidden one).

    haha good bye all

  • MaryAnn

    Oh, for the love of- Why is it that every woman with a strong opinion just needs to get laid more?

    Silly, it’s because women aren’t supposed to have any opinions at all! We’re good for nothing but being fuck dolls for men, and having as many babies as we can pop out. Running around after chilluns and pleasin’ our men keeps proper women busy enough not to have time for any of that nonsense “thinking.”

    (Of course, some of us improper, not-really-women women have discovered that some men — not real proper mancho manly men, of course, but still, humans with penises — actually LIKE women with opinions and brains and stuff. Go figure…)

  • Josh

    I believe the reason that people attack MaryAnn is because she is very open about the fact that she is a feminist, among other things. This immediately makes many men scared of her. There are a lot of men out there that, while they won’t admit it, believe that women are good for only making babies and taking care of the men.

    I do believe that someone can go too far with their beliefs though. Now, I don’t think MaryAnn is anywhere near there. She does not go around advocating cruel things toward men, at least not that I have seen. I can see how the mentality and format of many male dominated films, such as SuperBad, can frustrate people like MaryAnn. Yet, I also believe that having such strong beliefs can hinder a persons ability to appreciate certain things. We have have our own likes and dislikes. It’s hard for people to see a film critic as opinionated as MaryAnn though. She’s even opinionated in the way she responds back to her readers. Most film critics are very open and really don’t let their beliefs seep into their reviews as much as MaryAnn will. If you don’t like what MaryAnn has to say, don’t come to the site. It’s that simple

  • Aaron Pound

    **please excuse the repetative language and incorrect grammar that may be found throughout my previous comment. I’m in a bit of a hurry because school is about to let off……

    besides, i DID say i’m only in high school, so that should excuse some of my errors. haha**

    If you are in high school, repetitive language and incorrect grammar is not excusable. You are old enough, and should be well-educated enough, to write clearly and correctly.

  • speaking as a woman “of a certain age” and “an unattractive one” at that… i have dealt with the type of behavior “sam” is displaying often enough with my nieces and nephews to now recommend we just ignore him. let him rant and rave and show off his appalling ignorance and behavior to silence derision. he is certainly not worth continuing to waste time and effort on.

  • MaryAnn

    She does not go around advocating cruel things toward men, at least not that I have seen.

    No, of course not: feminists are *humanists* above all else: we believe everyone to be equal. Certainly “advocating cruel things toward men” is not anything like any kind of mainstream feminist position.

    Most film critics are very open and really don’t let their beliefs seep into their reviews as much as MaryAnn will.

    Of course other critics “let their beliefs seep into their reviews”! How could they not?

  • “Certainly “advocating cruel things toward men” is not anything like any kind of MAINSTREAM feminist position.” [emphasis added]

    You’ve just hit on the reason why feminists get such a bad rap. While the original idea of feminism was promotion of equality, and the mainstream movement still does so, some people who’ve appropriated the name feminism are really nothing more than outright misandrists. It’s called post-structural feminism (MAJ, I assume you already know most of this, but some of the readers probably don’t), and it basically says that women should be separated from men as thoroughly as possible, and that women are inherently superior to men. They want almost complete segregation, as far as I can tell, because they think men are always violent towards women if given the chance. It’s downright frightening. I remember seeing one thread on some psychotic message board or blog in which a woman said that because her son looked at porn, she knew he would eventually become a rapist and wished she had aborted him when she had the chance. Yes, this woman wished her own son had never been born because, for no reason at all, she assumed he’d someday be a rapist. And everyone else at the board was supportive of her.

    So, I’m all for feminism. As in many movements, though, the radical fringe gives the mainstream a bad name.

  • MaryAnn

    That may be true. But unless women stand up for the true ideas of equality and freedom that mainstream feminism espouses, that unfair characterization will continue to hold sway. This is why we hear young women today saying things like “Oh, I’m not a feminist” while everything about her says she actually is! It’s up to mainstream feminists to educate those who misunderstand what the term actually means.

    I just realize that something else Josh wrote rankles:

    I also believe that having such strong beliefs can hinder a persons ability to appreciate certain things.

    I realize Josh is defending me, for the most part, but still: If holding the belief that women are fully human prevents me from “appreciating” a movie — or a subset of movies — in which women are less than fully human, so be it. Believing that dogfighting is wrong prevents me from appreciating dogfights, too. I don’t see that this is anything to be ashamed of.

  • Shaz

    So the new trend in Hollywood is to celebrate and be proud of all that is infantile about America — and guess what? people are actually liking it! It’s ‘resonating’ with everyone, guys! Even the critics! What else do you need to prove how shallow, puerile, hollow and DUMBED DOWN American society has become.

  • MaryAnn

    It’s not resonating with all the critics…

  • Shaz

    Not resonating with those who actually care about films, I suppose…But 87% on this and 93% on Knocked Up (which I actually watched yesterday out of curiousity and just couldn’t get over the question that why did the girl not have an abortion? This could have been ignored any any other film maybe but when the whole premise of the film centers on an unwated pregnancy someone better answer this) at rottentomatoes!!! It’s really a disturbing trend. I think when New York Post calls Knocked Up ‘era defining’ and most agree, it’s time for true introspection.

  • MBI

    Oh please, get the fuck over yourself, Shaz. Yeah, you’re the only bastion of intelligence in the world. *rolls eyes*

    And moreover, I don’t see why people don’t understand why Katherine Heigl didn’t have an abortion. It’s because she didn’t want an abortion. Obviously. Yes yes yes, I understand why women having the option is a good thing, but it always strikes me as weird when people seem to think that every woman should feel the same way about it. She chose not to have the abortion because it’s a fucking abortion. Believe it or not, some girls are still squeamish about the whole thing. (And I’m not projecting; it’s right in the movie if you look.)

    Defending my own (warm, not ecstatic) love of this movie, I think the joke when Evan says “That girl looks like she can take a dick” is not “Ha ha, it’s funny ’cause it’s true!” It’s more like, “Ha ha, he can say those things because he’s an idiot.” You may disagree; it’s not the greatest defense, I realize, but that wasn’t the part I laughed at regardless.

  • Shaz

    Thanks for teaching me the values of humbleness. I know some teenagers (an age which Heigl’s character is clearly over)are squeamish about having an abortion and you must have looked really, really hard to find any plausibility in her decision. My problem was that this aspect was completely overlooked, as if the writer was desperate to just get on with the film. All other arguments aside, this makes bad cinema. You might have liked the film with all the warmth but as far as I am concerned it was boring and it’s romantic comedy elements forced.

  • MaryAnn

    We went over this a lot in the *Knocked Up* thread, but the problem with that film’s ignoring of abortion isn’t that she doesn’t have an abortion — she can’t, obviously, or that would be the end of the movie. It’s that we are not made privy to her decision not to have an abortion. The movie acts as if abortion is all but NOT an option, when it should have dealt with it in the exactly opposite way: deciding to actually have the baby should have been one of the biggest obstacles, if not THE biggest one, the character faced in this story. But it’s all but missing. That’s part of what makes KU poor storytelling.

    It’s not that every woman feels the same about abortion. But a woman in her position WOULD know that this is an option, and the movie gives us no reason to believe that she would automatically reject it outright (she’s not deeply religious, for instance).

    Of course, neither *Knocked Up* nor *Superbad* (nor *The 40-Year-Old Virgin*) are about women, or even about how men relate to women. They’re about how men really don’t want to deal with women at all and would rather just hang out with their guy pals. As such, the women characters are barely sketched. Why bother, when the guys are really only interested in other guys?

  • MBI

    There’s some kind of cultural disconnect I’m not getting, that’s just preventing from understanding where you’re coming from. It’s just not within my grasp, and perhaps that’s my fault. But I simply am failing to understand why there needs to be some kind of compelling, dramatic justification for not wanting to have an abortion.

  • Grant

    Because, MBI, in dramatic storytelling, there should be a compelling reason behind every action, or inaction, of the characters. It’s relevant in KU because the premise of the story is that this is a pair of people who wouldn’t, and arguably shouldn’t, be having a baby with out some kind of plot-moving device like a drunken misunderstanding about condom use (or a broken condom, or a mis-inserted diaphragm, or any of a number of contrivances). If discussion boards here and elsewhere are to be believed, a significant portion of the audience was left wondering why abortion was rejected by the characters. The film makers should have anticipated this and given a compelling reason. Certainly there are at least as many compelling reasons not to have an abortion as to have one. That they didn’t include one is poor storytelling.

  • MBI

    Like I said: I still don’t get it. It seems to me like the fact that it’s an abortion should be reason enough.

  • Hi! Here via Cinematical. I enjoyed Superbad and I actually thought that it did seem aware of its juvenility, so I didn’t have a problem with the lack of attention to the girls because there was an “aw, these guys are huge geeks who don’t understand girls enough to relate to them” air to the entire movie. (At least, I thought there was… it seems that people’s mileage varies a lot on this.)

    I have a huge problem with guys like this in real life. But even though Superbad had a lot of sympathy for Seth and Evan, I don’t think it was saying guys should be proud of being like this. Still, I’m commenting several days after first reading this review because it made me think really hard about whether or not I still wanted to say I liked the movie… which means there’s still hope for me, eh? :)

  • MaryAnn

    “aw, these guys are huge geeks who don’t understand girls enough to relate to them”

    This is the attitude of American pop culture on the whole. We should be appalled by that, not celebrating it.

    It seems to me like the fact that it’s an abortion should be reason enough.

    With the majority of the American public in favor of legal abortion, which is, in fact, legal, that argument holds no water when we’re talking about a mainstream film.

  • MaryAnn

    MBI: I don’t want to dismiss your attitudes toward abortion, and I’m honestly not trying to make you feel bad, but if you need some evidence that even women who are perhaps philosophically opposed to abortion sometimes choose one anyway, please read the content this link. It’s not long, and it may explain why some people here are so very upset at KU’s complete ignoring of the realities of women’s lives, even as it pretends to be about precisely that.

    Maybe you don’t know very many women who’ve been in the situation of facing an unplanned pregnancy. Maybe you don’t know that some of the women you know have been in that situation because they don’t talk about it. But please don’t pretend that NOT at least CONSIDERING an abortion is the default reality of most American women.

  • Paula

    MaryAnn,

    Unfortunately your review is less of a review than a judgment call on the crudeness of what comes out of the characters’ mouths. Which implies, to me at least, that you couldn’t get past it enough to get to what the movie was really looking at — the twilight of childhood and the ensuing fear of adulthood that is very clearly connected to the boys’ use of profanity as a way of assuring themselves that they are OK with being older.
    You have every right to be offended by much of the movie’s humor. But offense alone is not a credible piece of evidence for a critique of a movie, although you’re right about the cops.

    Full disclosure: I am a young woman in my mid-twenties and I find Judd Apatow’s work to be startlingly close to home. I was a fan of Freaks and Geeks and The 40 Year-Old Virgin, and admired Knocked Up as well despite the iffy character renderings on all sides (not just the women). I also admired the choice that Apatow made in not making it about The Choice — it would have been out of his league and furthermore I think that he shows a proper amount of respect for the choice that she made by not questioning the act of choosing itself. In the end, the character made a choice and she spends the movie trying to navigate the consequences of it, but by and large there is no judgment on the choice itself, no condescending tone that suggests that she was an “idiot” for choosing to keep it, merely that it was what she wanted at the time.

    The nuances of those screwy transition periods that Apatow loves to catalogue are beyond anything that truly qualifies for the frat boy/gross out laffer movie genre. They make me think about the extent to which our society has glamorized and exploited sexuality without the attendant responsibility, the extent to which we fetishize youth to the point where we are reluctant to face our adult obligations, our lack of respect for women and our disdain for the ability of men to be vulnerable and truthful around us as well as with each other. And friendship, of course. Always the friendships: how a man in particular can be led astray by everyone around him and yet that bond still remains the most precious he has. Apatow is, I think, no conservative but the morality is the strongest I’ve encountered in any filmmaker in a really long time.

  • amanohyo

    I think it’s great that you were mentally stimulated by these movies, but don’t the issues that you listed in the bottom paragraph naturally come to your mind when you watch any teen comedy?

    Are you saying that the typical teen comedy doesn’t make you think of: glamorized sexuality without responsibility, lack of respect for women, macho attitudes, and the glory of (non-gay) male friendship, but this one movie does?

    That seems weird to me. My next question is, what does this movie do after bringing up these issues? Does it show them and then address them in an interesting new way? Does it offer solutions or alternatives? Does it present any unexpected ideas or perspectives that haven’t been seen dozens of times before in similar movies?

    You also suggest that it is the morality of these Apatow comedies that makes them distinct. What system of morals do these movies uphold? In other words, according to this movie, what do you think it means to be a good, girl/woman and/or a good boy/man?

  • MaryAnn

    They make me think about the extent to which our society has glamorized and exploited sexuality without the attendant responsibility, the extent to which we fetishize youth to the point where we are reluctant to face our adult obligations, our lack of respect for women and our disdain for the ability of men to be vulnerable and truthful around us as well as with each other.

    Yeah, they make me think about these things, too. By beings examples of them.

  • Paula

    The 40 Year Old Vrigin:

    – Andy is presented as a sheltered person who gets roped into a group of guys whose only obsession seems to be dirty sex and having/seeing lots of it.
    – The plot of the movie is thin, I grant that, mainly consisting of lots of bad advice in regards to how to deal with women and sex.
    – But, the thing about the rising amount of vulgarity in any Apatow movie, esp. this one, is the idea that the sheer volume of it often contributes to the audience’s realization of its excess, especially going towards the end of the movie. By surrounding Andy with copious references to overt sexuality Apatow is making a clear point about the ways in which society had made the act meaningless and even disgusting. It’s this society that has so much influence on the way his coworkers see sex.
    – While the guys are obviously going through various bad breakups, or meaningless affairs that sabotage a potentially functional, long-term relationship, or generally being jackasses, Andy pursues his own way with Trish, taking his time and inadvertently avoiding many of the pitfalls that his co-workers fall into.
    – The story also, in making parallels between Andy’s successful dating patterns and his co-workers’ corrupted ones, upends the comparison that was made in the earlier part of the movie, in which we are to assume, by the state of Andy’s bedroom and his shut-in habits, that he’s a child in comparison to the other guys.
    – But as the movie progresses, we see him struggling with what it means to truly be “mature” about not only sex but the rest of his life, and not merely about throwing away his comic books and action figures but about letting someone into his world and allowing himself to expand his interests from being a spectator and a collector to someone who actively participates.
    – Thus, the movie presents the audience with competing ideas of “maturity”, and Apatow comes squarely on the side of the guy who decides to take his time with sex and sexuality but also tries to make leaps outside of his comfort zone to embrace the complications of adulthood.
    – And adulthood, which, in this case does not mean a mere potty mouth and a desire to take what one can get but to grab for things that matter, and to be patient for other things whose time hasn’t yet come.

    Knocked Up:

    – Both Alison and Ben are, for the most part, very young adults who haven’t quite become independent of their families — either the sister’s real family or the surrogate pothead family that surrounds Ben.
    – The “baby” is the event that catalyzes this change. Apart from the usual speeches of being responsible about sex, etc, A&B’s real lesson in terms of the way the movie is structured is the way in which this baby will affect their present habits.
    – Much of this change falls on Ben’s lap, because his life is obviously in need of a reevaluation. As amiable as his friends are, his life is indeed “sad” because it’s clear that he’s not making any kind of effort to improve his lot.
    – Instead of Alison, and this is where the movie gets cockeyed (to mixed results), the locus of “change” on the female side is the sister, Debbie. She’s the one who still goes out to clubs with her sister, and who worries about aging. But we see that a lot of it is also coming from insecurity about her husband.
    – Thus, Alison is getting a peek at what her life could be not just because of the baby, but because she might choose to attach herself to someone for the rest of her life. All of the compromises, the self-doubt, the petty fighting.
    – The married couple are not exactly paragons either. They clearly don’t communicate, and they have various strategies for avoiding what could be the more mature route of talking things over and being conscious about what the other person is feeling. It’s important that both Pete and Debbie are hiding into activities that remind them of being single and unattached, because it sort of reflects what Alison and Ben might be giving up. It also reflects the social fetishizing of the youthful body, the unattached self (even though Ben’s life as a single man is clearly not the cool thing he thinks it is).
    – However, even though Apatow presents the various junctures — from single adulthood to parenthood, from domestic contentment to strife — with the sense that it’s sort of like trying to choose between a rock and hard place, he also wants to present the idea that, if people were mature enough, they would begin to understand the idea of compromise.
    – Pete and Debbie can’t be young again, but Alison and Ben, through their example, are able to understand that even if the situation isn’t favorable that they both have to step up and take responsibility and to take each other in their confidence. For Alison, the moment of “growing up” might be the moment where she decides to not force a relationship with Ben because she recognizes that Debbie’s unhappiness could be hers. With Ben, however, it’s the moment when he decides that he wants to be in it for the long haul and to stop following the jaded example of Pete.
    – The movie doesn’t fully resolve either relationship, but it does present a happy, healthy baby as an antidote to the bitterness one might feel about losing one’s youth. The obsession that all (save Alison) have with wanting to retain or regain the freedom of their youth is, in the end, painted as a futile and somewhat selfish pursuit because sooner or later we all have to face growing older. What Apatow is saying, however, is that this growing older doesn’t have to be bad. That it depends on whether or not a person would be willing to face his or her committments or make compromises and to be willing to give up instant personal gratification for a greater good.

    Superbad:

    – This movie contains strains of the first two, what with the focus of the fear of getting older and coming into contact with more “mature” elements. But it has less of a message than the other two, and wants to focus on the permutations of the friendship.
    – Like Virgin, the volume of dirty talk serves a signifier for something else — in this case, the extent to which both boys are truly terrified of sex to the point where they feel like talking dirty will somehow make them more comfortable with it.
    – What’s more, although they have girls that they pursue, it’s clear from the denouement between Seth and Evan in the mall that perhaps one of the reasons why they haven’t managed to make the great leap forward in terms of dating is because they were too afraid to leave each other.
    – The vital thing, the striking thing about Superbad is that it’s the first mainstream buddy movie I’ve seen in which that strain of the homoeroticism in the boys’ relationship is not necessarily disavowed. As Evan says, “It’s the most natural thing in the world”.

    Overall, what I find interesting in most Apatow movies is the way in which the bracing amount of obscenity in them is often used to obscure other issues. It’s a bit like a comedy of manners in which what one says hides what one actually means, but that would be making it too specific in message. Rather, it seems that Apatow’s penchant for improv often leads to a kind of contact high with voluminious dirty talk that engages a more serious subtext. The rawness, the crudeness of it, is a signifier for the alternative, which Apatow tries to highlight by his extremely optimistic, moralistic resolutions. (Superbad included even though he neither wrote nor directed but had a fair hand in influencing the principal cast and crew).

    Apatow is often too optimistic in his morality, and his methods of characterization through extended dialogue riffing often reach dead ends (like those of Ben’s housemates in Knocked Up), but I find his presentation fascinating. He clearly wants mainstream appeal, but the inherent rawness of his technique often leads to material that gently pushes the boundariers of genres like romantic comedy and coming-of-age. Furthermore, he takes his vulgarity seriously, never failing to point out the pitfalls even while reveling in it.

    Finally, with the copious references to Dazed and Confused in Superbad, I may compare him to Richard Linklater, who also specializes in a distinctive brand of “talk” wherein it’s less about the specfics of what is said rather than the atmosphere that is created. [There’s also an Andrew Bujalski comparison floating around here but I can’t really be too specific about it yet.] For Linklater, the people use to talk to discover themselves and the world. Language is the conduit for forming identities, or testing worldviews, or outlining the edges of a society. For Apatow, the (bad) language is like a protective layer that must be shot through with honesty. (Actually, now that I think of it, in Before Sunset, language is also used to disguise true emotions.)

    Thus, despite the fact that both directors may be specializing in a limited demographic, their “talk” tends to reflect a greater whole in which society’s way of talking about certain things often influences the possibilities that their characters can perceieve. If Linklater’s characters want to expand that bubble for a more supple, inclusive, truthful dailogue, Apatow kinda wants to show his characters (and us) that there are different languages in which to speak.

  • MaryAnn

    the sheer volume of it often contributes to the audience’s realization of its excess

    Why does this make me think about that Onion “editorial” the gist of which was, “Hey, I’m not gay. I just like to get my dick sucked off by another guy once in a while to remind me how much I hate it”?

    Paula, you’re seeing a LOT of stuff in these movies that I don’t see. I’m glad someone is enjoying them on any kind of intellectual level. But I’m not.

  • SMC83

    Get a grip and lighten the f**k up old woman.

  • “Of course, neither *Knocked Up* nor *Superbad* (nor *The 40-Year-Old Virgin*) are about women, or even about how men relate to women. They’re about how men really don’t want to deal with women at all and would rather just hang out with their guy pals.”

    Exactly… which is why I like these movies. Not that I’m not interested in women or movies about them, but I know for and in fact have been at times one of those guys. Voilà.

  • MaryAnn

    Get a grip and lighten the f**k up old woman.

    Can you elucidate, SMC83?

  • Moe

    MaryAnne: “This movie is fit only, perhaps, for other horny 13-year-old boys who haven’t yet gotten over their mortification of their own bodies…”

    MaryAnne: “I’m glad someone is enjoying them on any kind of intellectual level.”

    Contradiction?

    Isn’t it possible that this is movie is both?
    Maybe that’s why the majority of critics liked it.
    Maybe they laughed at the immature 13-year-old jokes for what they were AND saw the deeper reasons behind Seth’s underlying fear of women while at the same time accepting the morale of the film,
    “Stop rushing. Take your time.”

  • Greg

    I fully agreed with everything Mary Ann wrote in her excellent review of the too over praised Knocked Up film and also with her comments made in the ridiculously over lengthy discussion thread that KU got on this site (yes, I read all the interesting comments for that, that started eventually getting a tad repetitive). I have a feeling I’ll probably also concur with her Superbad comments, when I see it next week on a free pass (it opens in Australia where I am, next week).
    My reason for commenting, is I wanted to ask if anyone has a copy (and if so, could they please post it in this thread, or E Mail it to me) of The New York Times column or article that regular NYT columnist Maureen Dowd (who bears a resemblance to Mary Ann, from the headshot photo of herself on this site) apparently wrote about the Knocked Up film, as I read that she wrote something about it and am intrigued to read what her take on it was (if that’s what her column on it, was about). Maureen’s NYT columns usually deal primarily with US politics and occasional feminism subjects. Unfortunately, the New York Times charges a fee to read her columns online on it’s website, even if you’re already a registered member. Plus I couldn’t find anything Ms. Dowd said about KU, after doing a NYT website search.

    In Richard Corliss’s (Time magazine’s film critic) negative Knocked Up review (he was also disappointed by the film and cited all the lavish praise most US critics had given the KU film), I agree with his suggestion with what would’ve been an edgier, much more interesting take for a similar romantic comedy – have it be about two unsuited people who get together, the girl gets pregnant, she has an abortion, then decides maybe later on, she likes the guy (or maybe another different man)
    and they set about raising a family of kids that she really wants. It’d be cool, but would have to be done as an independent film, not as a big studio film.

  • amanohyo

    I think the Dowd article you’re looking for is called “Men Will be Boys.” I’m sure some lame blogger has cut and pasted it in its entirety somewhere… Her opinion about the movie is not that interesting, but she does clumsily compare the recent crop of bromances to shark parthenogenesis which fascinates my inner science nut.

  • Greg

    Amanohyo, I found Ms. Dowd’s column from Google (that’s below), thanks very kindly. When she says ‘Mr. Apatow is funny’, I’d have to disagree. Some stuff in KU was amusing, but amusing and funny (to me anyway), are quite different.

    Men Will Be Boys. June 3, 2007.
    Op-Ed Columnist. By MAUREEN DOWD.

    [deleted by MAJ — PLEASE do not repost copyrighted material in its entirety and paste it at my site; excerpt and link, please]

  • amanohyo

    Hmmm, I was trying to subtly point you in the right direction without actually endorsing the act of cutting and pasting entire articles… I guess I failed on the second point. Oh well, I’m glad you found it.

    Along somewhat related lines, here’s a nice article called Men Growing Up to be Boys that connects the rise of the manboy with market-driven narcissism. It makes a lot of sense to me. (Thanks for the link, Feministing)

  • MaryAnn

    Hmmm, I was trying to subtly point you in the right direction without actually endorsing the act of cutting and pasting entire articles…

    And I deleted the whole article. Please don’t take up my server space pasting material available elsewhere via link, and please don’t steal copyrighted material. A link works perfectly fine and does not make the angels of intellectual property etiquette cry.

  • former awkward adolescent

    I appreciate this review. My wife and I just saw Superbad, and she was visibly cringing. She thought that it was the worst movie she had ever seen, although I thought it was about the funniest, but definitely a guy movie. When we got home, I went to imdb to show her the praise it received from the likes of Ebert and Mick LaSalle. But almost all the reviews on the list were written by guys. To me Superbad was the guy equivalent of The Notebook, and just as hard to appreciate by members of the opposite sex. Thank you for representing a female point of view.

  • MaryAnn

    I hated *The Notebook,* too. I hate shitty movies. There’s nothing male or female about that.

  • Jay

    Confession–I haven’t seen Superbad yet, and I’m not a regular flickfilosopher reader. I like to read negative reviews of movies I expect to enjoy, to temper my expectations a bit (I know, I’m a weirdo). And while I haven’t read through this entire thread, I have read through all of MaryAnne’s comments, looking for her to respond to the one valid criticism of her review that continues to be raised, but she has not yet done it.

    MaryAnne and all posters defending her seem to state that these critics of her are immature, insecure, and threatened by all opinionated women. Why should they care if she doesn’t like the movie they do? Well, she says in the review that no one over 13 with a brain could possibly find this movie funny. Therefore, if I’m over 13 and liked the movie, she is saying I don’t have a brain. It’s not all that shocking that people are insulted by that, and feel the need to respond, often with personal insults.

    MaryAnne, before you tell me that you *have* responded to comments that point out that you’re in the minority, let me state that you have responded to those only by defending your right to a minority position–a right you certainly have–without recognizing the point of these comments: that the fact that you’re in a small minority does seem to poke a hole in your belief that no adult with a brain could enjoy this film. Which, of course, is what is getting everyone up-in-arms to begin with.

    Anyway, I’m seeing the movie tomorrow, and I hope I enjoy it more than you have.

    By the way, having seen “Knocked Up,” I do have a comment on your “Knocked Up” opinion, that the movie lost all credibility by failing to engage the viewer in Allison’s internal struggle regarding whether or not to have an abortion. Undoubtedly, the film would have had more depth if it had taken 20-30 minutes to wrestle over this topic. Here’s the problem, though: I cannot imagine a single way to derive humor from the decision whether or not to have an abortion. There may be a way, but I am not clever enough to come up with it, and perhaps the writers of the movie aren’t either. If that is the case, I would argue that it justifies leaving the mental struggle out of the movie. It’s a slapstick comedy that is too long as it is, I don’t think it could support a drawn-out, unfunny should-I-or-shouldn’t-I abortion section.

    I haven’t read your full review, but if that is all that prevented you from enjoying the movie, that’s a shame. Because I thought it was really funny.

    (“I’m glad I’m not a Jew.”
    “So are we. You weren’t chosen for a reason.”

    Come on, you’re gonna tell me that’s not funny? At the very least, please don’t tell me I’m stupid for finding that funny.)

    MaryAnne, I know this movie is really old now so you’re probably not reading this thread anymore, but I’d love to hear your response to each of my points.

  • Jay

    Saw the movie today. Two thoughts:

    1) Really, really funny. Better than Knocked Up; probably better than the 40 year old virgin also. I guess we disagree, MaryAnne.

    2) Everybody talking about the deeper meaning of this movie, on either a positive or negative level, needs to just take a step back. Beyond humor, this movie offers nothing: no commentaries on our society, no realistic picture of high school life, no heartfelt emotional depth, nothing. Nor does it try to, thank God. This whole thread seems so silly and full of itself, now that I’ve seen the movie.

    MaryAnne, I probably won’t spend too much more time reading your reviews (which is fine, we don’t have to agree), but I will check back sometime to see if you responded to my previous post.

    Take care.

  • MaryAnn

    I read all threads that have new comments, but I have nothing to add to what I’ve already posted, Jay.

  • Feb

    Wow… how about I just go ahead and not read the entire thread of what look to be (some) fairly nasty comments.

    MaryAnn, I’ve been reading your reviews on and off for a few years now, I think. I don’t always see things your way, but it’s clear from reading your reviews that you have a brain and it’s always fully engaged in what you’re writing about. (Something I can’t always say about mainstream critics in major print media, sadly.) I’ve found myself disagreeing at times, but always in a debate-team kind of way. And when we agree, I find you to be the rare critic who notices and points out certain little things about movies that I like.

    So… I found some emotional truths were present in ‘Superbad’ that were missed in (arguably funnier, better-made) movies like the first ‘American Pie.’ The high school seniors in ‘Superbad’ were the closest thing I’ve seen to the high school seniors I knew, or was. As a matter of fact, it was a little discomfiting; where you maybe saw wince-worthy moments of bad writing, I had some moments of recognition that made me cringe.

    Plus, you know, immature cops and adolescent wish-fulfillment. Cartoony fun.

    I’m speaking up now though, because I thought the movie did something interesting (if underdeveloped) with the girls. They weren’t left completely hanging by the script, the way you imply. They were a small step forward, inasmuch as they had individual personalities, and their own motivations and ideas about what happens in the story.

    It seemed very true to me overall, in a “high school is like social anthopology” way, the way the guys schemed and strove, only to find that the girls already had the outcome decided. Nobody I’ve read seems to get that about the story: it’s really just about procuring the alcohol. Sure, everything that happens to Seth and Evan happens in the course of that mission, but none of it turns out to be of any consequence except the actual act of bringing the booze to the party.

    From then on, the girls are in charge of the forward motion of the story — and when you think about it, prior to then, NOBODY was. (Alternatively, the entire thing can be read as the story of McLovin, an archetypal trickster spirit who possesses Fogell and two cops, plus some less-interesting crap about two buddies trying to score.)

    There are probably 25 minutes of story in ‘Superbad,’ plus a lot of stupid crazy shit. I enjoyed the stupid crazy shit okay; I rather liked the humble little story buried inside (by sensitive, funny, social outcast kids like my high school friends). But I think the key is not confusing the two.

    Long story short: I see a green dot next to “Juno” over there to the right, but no link yet. Of all the reviews yet to be added to the 31 positive and 2 negative on the Tomatometer (at this moment, anyhow), yours is the one I’m anticipating most.

  • MaryAnn

    So the girls are in charge, and yet the story isn’t about them? What a gyp…

  • amanohyo

    “There are probably 25 minutes of story in ‘Superbad,’ plus a lot of stupid crazy shit.”

    I know I’m quoting this out of context Feb (and I apologize in advance for the sarcasm, my bitterness is not directed solely at you), but you nailed all of Apatow’s movies with this sentence. Before this golden age, the most story we could expect from a comedy was 15, maybe 20 minutes if we were lucky. His heartfelt, realistic style and profound use of plot have truly revolutionized the genre.

    It’s also pretty depressing that by mainstream movie standards, giving female characters “individual personalities” with their “own motivations and ideas” is considered a “small step forward.” If that’s true (and sadly, it may be) shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Kim Possible must have taken one giant leap to the bleeding edge of radical feminist literature. And Hannah Montana and the Tomb Raider movies and every romantic comedy ever made in the history of film? Who knew that they were all taking that same small step forward, over and over and over again?

    All ads for comedies should come with informative labels: “Now, with 30% real story!” “Guaranteed to contain at least two female characters!” “Watch them drive a plot by making decisions about their sexual destiny!” “These girls can speak and have individual personalities, you won’t believe your eyes!!!”

  • Feb

    Amanohyo, no offense taken. You cherry-picked a little from my very long note, but nothing you said was a misrepresentation. It’s all good.

    However, I’ll respond to you with the same two things I’d like to say in response to MaryAnn’s note (“So the girls are in charge, and yet the story isn’t about them? What a gyp…”)

    1) I don’t think even I, as someone who enjoys this rambling, improvisational Apatow-style thing, would trust Judd Apatow or Seth Rogen to create a movie where the women’s POV was the center. THAT would indeed be a crap movie. Say what you like about the skills of these guys, I don’t feel like knowing their limits is a problem.

    2) This is where I am duty-bound as a “Juno” cheerleader to say, the solution to this problem is to go to a theater near you tomorrow (in LA or NY) or Xmas Day (anywhere else in the US). Maybe you’ll see the movie you’ve been asking for.

  • Feb

    Oh, shoot. Hit “Post” too soon.

    Obviously I wasn’t talking about ALL films when I stated the female characters in “Superbad” didn’t completely suck; I meant within the context of horny-teen films.

    Try not to feel at least a little better, looking at the portrayals of teen females in “Superbad,” versus supposed-classic “Porky’s” or young Tom Cruise vehicle “Losin’ It.” I mean, let’s not confuse Less Bad with Really Good, but there is a spectrum to these things.

    And considering that some films are beloved and celebrated, even by smart critics, with utterly cardboard and offensive female characters, I think it’s worth noting. Especially in an argument about how harsh the warranted criticism should be.

  • MaryAnn

    trust Judd Apatow or Seth Rogen to create a movie where the women’s POV was the center.

    Surely there’s a middle ground between “a woman’s POV is central” and “the female characters are barely even cardboard”…

  • Ryan

    Interestingly I just read an interview where Katherine Heigl said she thought Superbad portrayed women in a poor light. One might wonder then why she chose to take the part after reading the script, but I guess a paycheck is a paycheck.

    I still haven’t seen it, and don’t really care if I do.

  • Ryan

    Sorry, I was flashing back to Knocked Up, not Superbad, my mistake. Feel free to ignore the above post…

  • Shynz

    “Surely there’s a middle ground between “a woman’s POV is central” and “the female characters are barely even cardboard”…”

    Why? Why does everything have to be equal parts? This was written by teenage boys and your complaints are that women are misrepresented and the jokes aren’t funny or are extremely crude? That’s the entire point.

    You seem like you think you know why Superbad is funny to guys like myself but if you did you’d have more appreciation for the movie instead of trashing it up one side and down the other. It’s critically and commercially quite popular and for good reason.

    I rented it from Blockbuster tonight and when I sat it on the counter the 50+ year old woman helping me said it’s one of the funniest movies she’s seen in the last couple years. Your inability to find a single redeeming quality about a film that so many people enjoy raises more red flags than I care to gather up and wave around. I’ll simply say that this review is very poorly conceived in spite of the thought that no doubt went into it.

    Eh, screw it. There’s more in this world than shades of gray. This review is crap the you’re a hypocrite. There I feel better now.

    PS: Referring to yourself as a goddess? For shame. Ever met a guy that referred to himself as a God? I’ve known a few like that in my lifetime. They also happened to be assholes. Very rarely do people avoid becoming the thing they dedicate so much of their lives to hating. You seem to be a victim of this reality.

  • Shynz

    “Interestingly I just read an interview where Katherine Heigl said she thought Superbad portrayed women in a poor light. One might wonder then why she chose to take the part after reading the script, but I guess a paycheck is a paycheck.”

    It cearly puts men in a positive light as well.

  • MaryAnn

    Why does everything have to be equal parts?

    It doesn’t, and I never said it did. But some people are arguing that this film *does* present women’s perspectives in a positive light. You can’t have it both ways.

    your complaints are that women are misrepresented /snip/ That’s the entire point.

    It’s a point of the movie to misrepresent women? That’s a “feature” of the film I hadn’t heard before.

    You seem like you think you know why Superbad is funny to guys like myself but if you did you’d have more appreciation for the movie instead of trashing it up one side and down the other. It’s critically and commercially quite popular and for good reason.

    So because everyone else likes it, I should too? Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. And just because I can understand why some people like it doesn’t mean I have to “appreciate” it myself.

    Your inability to find a single redeeming quality about a film that so many people enjoy raises more red flags than I care to gather up and wave around.

    If you’re looking for a critic who merely parrots the general consensus no matter what he or she actually thinks, you’ve certainly got plenty of other options.

  • Shynz

    The movie is written entirely from the perspective of teenage boys. Of course women are misrepresented and yes that’s a point of the movie. You also make it sound like only women are being looked at in a negative light. More evidence of your gender bias.

    I never said you needed to like it because everybody else does. It’s my opinion that Madonna’s music is 90% garbage. I also recognize why people and enjoy it. Just because it’s not my bag doesn’t make it crap.

    I’m not going after your honesty. It’s a great quality and a virtue. Yours just seems misguided.

  • Ryan

    I think you should take all the people arguing with you as a compliment Mary Ann. Clearly they can’t have their enjoyment of the movie validated unless you agree with them. It’s sort of pathetic really.

    As to the Madonna point, interesting. A lot of people like Nascar too…but that doesn’t make it a good or interesting sport. So, it’s easy to turn that argument on it’s head. Just because a majority of people like something doesn’t make it good, any more than a majority of people disliking something makes it bad.

  • Shynz

    I don’t need anybody to validate my enjoyment of Superbad. I’m just genuinely confused as to how somebody could watch the movie and not find an ounce of enjoyment.

    Nascar is a great example. I find no pleasure in watching a Nascar race but I have a great appreciation for what goes into it. Nevermind the engineering and physics involved. It’s a pretty grueling test of physical endurance as well.

    I also find it kind of funny that you suggest we need validation from her while you try validating her opinions yourself as if she needs your help or even desires it on some level. Not to get too personal but you’re playing feminine to her masculine which is of course exactly what you would think she wants. The only problem is that you’re being too transparent.

    This goes to one of the major themes of this entire thread. Roles of men and women in society and how they’re represented in film. As was posted earlier the men kind of fumble along towards this goal of getting laid when the women have their minds made up right from the get-go. The women or girls, however poorly people believe they are portrayed are in the obvious position of power while the men seek to appease them essentially in order to get their approval. The very same thing is going on in this thread and in that sense it shows Superbad displays a somewhat accurate representation of the male/female relationship not only for teenagers but adults as well. Mary Ann could say, “Thank you for helping me make my point,” but that won’t happen unless she is in SOME way genuinely interested in the person defending her. This is also exactly how the movie went. It’s almost too much irony for my tiny brains to handle!

  • Ryan

    I wasn’t validating her opinions, I haven’t even watched the movie. All I was saying is that attacking a movie reviewer for giving their honest opinion of a movie is stupid. It says that A) either you don’t believe there is a SUBJECTIVE truth about the movie–or–B) You need to change her mind, ie you need her validation. Take your choice.

    “Not to get too personal but you’re playing feminine to her masculine which is of course exactly what you would think she wants.”
    – I think you are over-thinking an online blog my friend. But again it shows that you think I need her validation in some way, all your points have that implicit assumption.

    I’m just here because I like movies, and since generally my tastes correspond to MaryAnn’s I find her reviews a useful guideline. Why are you here?

  • MBI

    “It says that A) either you don’t believe there is a SUBJECTIVE truth about the movie–or–B) You need to change her mind, ie you need her validation. ”

    Not true at all. He’s not attacking her opinion, he’s disagreeing with it because he believes they’re supported by faulty arguments. If we’re not allowed to disagree with her, why even have these comment sections.

  • Ryan

    Opinions on art are subjective. You can certainly disagree, I may disagree as well once I see the movie. I just find the whole premise behind these arguments ridiculous. But, whatever floats your boat I guess.

  • MaryAnn

    The women or girls, however poorly people believe they are portrayed are in the obvious position of power while the men seek to appease them essentially in order to get their approval.

    I’ve heard variations on this argument before: “Oh, women are actually very powerful and in control of everything and also pretty much perfect, so we don’t need stories about them. It’s far more interesting to have stories about men, who are flawed and imperfect and actually the weaker gender.”

    To which I say: Bullshit. A pedestal is no good place to be on, no matter how many men think it may be a great spot for women. If the position of women is so great, I challenge any man to take it on for a single day.

    In fact, that’s a great idea for a movie. Oh, wait, it’s been done; see *Tootsie.*

  • Shynz

    I think you’re misunderstanding. When did I ever suggest women are pretty much perfect or in control of everything?

    My problem with you is that you seem irritated that a movie about teenage boys, written by teenage boys is not for a middle-aged woman.

    What I’m saying is that you don’t seem to understand anything about Superbad. You don’t understand the fear of losing friends or questioning your sexuality or the absolute fascination and curiosity/terror about everything that is woman FROM the perspective of a young boy. In fact, you don’t even try. You pan it as immature and crude and it really is but you just don’t get that that is the point.

    Do you even have the slightest idea of why men don’t mature properly anymore? I’ll give you a clue: FEMINISM! We have been almost completely emasculated since woman decided to shift the paradigm. I’m not saying that women need to be bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen but for fuck’s sake don’t flip out when we don’t know how to behave around you or we’re crude and immature. Turn on the damn TV and witness 90% of male figures being borderline retarded or complete assholes. Don’t think I’m not aware of the standards set for women in media as well but we aren’t talking about movies about you or women. We’re discussing a movie about boys growing up in today’s world.

    Women wanted a change. Women fought for change and rightfully so, but they also got everything that comes with it. A bunch of confused men who don’t mature properly and don’t know what the hell they’re supposed to be or do.

    Hell, you guys even confused yourselves! I’m only 26 but I’ve dated a few women before I got married and I have to say that women are just as if not more confused than men. When I was in high school I just chalked it up to, “Hey, one week a month women get to be crazy,” but it became far more than that as I got older.

    Every single woman I’ve been with, as a result of this new found power/freedom or whatever, has NO idea what they want from me. Do they want me to work and go out with friends or stay home and be with them all the time. They want me to have a social life, so long as no other human beings are involved. They want me sensitive but not pussy-whipped one moment or a total bastard the next. They want my advice but the second I give it they yell at me for telling them what to do. There are certain things I would not tolerate and they go out and do them simply to prove that they can because they’re a woman and no man can tell them what to do!

    My wife actually detests the feminist movement. She basically says, “I don’t want to have to worry about all this bullshit. Life would have been so much simpler fifty years ago.” It’s the truth. You think men weren’t frustrated with how life was back then? You think that it was easy? Welcome to fifty years later where heart disease, stroke and cancer have boomed in women. Fifty years ago may not have been “the right way” but neither is now and it won’t be in another fifty years. Your notion of equality does not exist – in any time – in any form, because men and women are and forever will be different.

    You’re just a malcontent. You could have every position of power on this planet and it would still not be enough. You’re so used to this concept of your life being hard or unfair because you are female and you will never grow out of it. Not at your age anyway. No, that’s not a jab at your age but going by statistics, barring some life altering event, you will die who you are.

    Your last couple lines prove you’re missing the point. I do not desire to live the life of a woman. I love every fucking second of being a man on this planet in this time no matter how complicated or frustrating things become. I don’t want to be a woman. I’m content to be a man and endure all the pains in the ass that come with it and enjoy all the positives it entails. Just because a few decades ago women decided that they want all those wonderful things that were left purely to the men does not mean that I desire to put on pumps and lipstick and fake orgasms while my boring and semi-retarded husband plugs away.

    How in God’s name could you possibly be a human being on this planet, in this country with this job and the freedoms to do everything you do on a daily basis and feel that the universe has slighted you somehow?

    Superbad is funny and it’s humanistic moments are sincere and realistic however absurd the premise of the film. I look back to my high school days and can relate to 90% of what happened in the movie at one point or another. Outlandish stories that cannot possibly be true are in fact hilariously real. I’ve got stories about period blood and getting booze. Smoking and dealing with crazy cops. Stealing. Pornography. Sex. Going to parties full of people way older than you and who frankly scare the shit out of you. Drugs. Awkward blowjob offers. Fights with best friends. This movie is four years of my life condensed into one night. The whole is unrealistic but the parts are all extremely accurate and while I may wish that some of those things had not happened I cannot change reality. All I can do is pop in Superbad and remember how fun and insane those days were while being thankful that they are over with.

    It’s a shame that a chip on your shoulder and a stick up your ass prevents you from enjoying such a funny movie. Or at the very least finding something enjoyable within this particular one.

    PS: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story looks fantastic!

  • amanohyo

    “My wife actually detests the feminist movement… Life would have been so much simpler fifty years ago.”

    Why stop there? Life would be even more simple a hundred, five-hundred, two thousand years ago. I know it’s scary and hard to adjust when gender roles start to crumble a tiny, tiny bit. But this kind of extreme antifeminist backlash and talk of women not being satisfied if they had “every position of power on the planet” is more than a little silly.

    Men have been running every society throughout all of human history. I don’t blame you and your wife for being confused and scared when people dare to suggest that this has led to social institutions that privilege men. But I have news for you. You need to hold on to something real tight, because feminism still has a long, long, loooong way to go here in the US, to say nothing of developing countries.

    As for the movie, I remember being a dumb, horny teenager too. This movie (along with many others) does a fair impression, and maybe if I was still a teen it would be a laugh riot. As an adult, it just isn’t funny. It’s your right to disagree, but the tired argument about removing some mysterious PC, liberal-feminist “stick,” doesn’t make any sense.

    I’ll say it again. No one who loves movies goes out of their way to be offended by one. I don’t know how this rumor started, but it just doesn’t happen. People want to be entertained. If something is funny to them, they laugh. If something is offensive, sometimes they still laugh, sometimes they don’t. Afterwards, some of them (especially those paid to do so) sort out why they were or were not offended and why the jokes were or were not funny. No one has a magic ON/OFF “allow myself to become offended” switch. Why is this so difficult to understand?

  • MaryAnn

    When I was in high school I just chalked it up to, “Hey, one week a month women get to be crazy,”

    Oh, no, we didn’t need, don’t still need, a feminist movement… Not at all.

  • Shynz

    Are you kidding? We need a “movement” because teenage boys don’t understand something? The well is getting dry. I dated women into my early twenties that had no idea “it just gets hard” sometimes. My initial reaction was, “Wow, you didn’t know about that?” Then I spent two seconds thinking about it and realized, hey why would she and does it really matter?

    No, it doesn’t. I’ll never understand exactly what’s going on with your period like you’ll never understand what it’s like to jog with a penis and testicles. Celebrate difference. I shall be forever be confused by your menstrual cycle and the hormonal shifts that come with it. And don’t even remotely suggest that the average woman doesn’t get pissy once a month because of her period. Who cares why and that it’s a reality? I’ve accepted it as a part of what makes a woman a woman. Why haven’t you?

    Amanohyo: Nobody is afraid of the feminist movement here and it hasn’t been a “tiny, tiny” shift in gender roles. Things have been practically flipped. There is enough garbage on a day to day basis without worrying about pointless crap like fifty percent of corporate jobs belonging to women. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been slighted as a man in this country these days? A lot, and I have better things to do than sit around and feel resentful about it.

    You may believe that feminism has a long way to go. I can understand why. I challege you to look at how much and how quickly change has taken place though. I also challenge you to understand that women are nearly as responsible for the shortcomings of the feminist movement. It wasn’t too long ago that women were burning bras to prove their point. Yes, clearly that makes a valid argument. I want equal opportunity and respect so I’m going to go out in the streets and stomp around shouting while burning my bra. There are more constructive ways to go about things. It all starts with your personal image and how you project yourself.

    I have never worked for a company that I knew to hire only men specifically. I have however applied to multiple jobs where I found out later that I had NO CHANCE because I am male. My point is that just because the world is different and changing doesn’t make it better and it is simply not. Every male manager I’ve had prefered to hire women because frankly they liked having women around. Every female manager I’ve had prefered to hire women because they felt they owed it to the feminist movement. It’s stupid. Both sides are incredibly dumb in their motivations. It’s this exact reason that woman have an easier time getting a job where skill is not a priority. Next time I’m out I’ll count the amount of women holding minimum wage jobs in the various stores I shop at or go to and if it’s not 2:1 in favor of women my mind will be blown.

    I don’t fear change. There are just other more important things to work on than fucking equality in the work place. It’s like listening to Al Sharpton bitch about racism and slavery. I’m sorry. Did I whip your grandparents or oppress you in some way? People need to be able to recognize when change has taken place and BE HAPPY as it does. I’m not saying be happy with whatever you get and shut up. We just live in a country of malcontents that cannot and will not accept any change as good until they get EVERYTHING that they want. It is impossible to get everything you want which pushes me to use the word “malcontent.” I’m not saying things are “good enough.” All I’m saying is that for fuck’s sake be able to recognize the amazing amount of change that has taken place in the last 25 years. The last 50 years. The last 100 years.

    And my argument is not that she doesn’t find it funny and should. My argument is that there is no reason somebody shouldn’t be able to recognize that the movie is not crap simply because they do not enjoy it. Reviewing a movie by teenage boys for teenage boys and young men as a middle-aged woman is just dumb. I’m merely challenging her to step outside herself for a moment and recognize the movie for what it is. Yet she sits there and suggests that men need to look through her eyes as she conversely refuses to look through ours.

    Based on everything I’ve said you can come to the conclusion that me even typing all this is pointless. I don’t believe I’ll make a point with her. I don’t believe she’s willing to say, “you know what, you’re right about this.” That’s not what she does. She has the luxary of picking through valid point after valid point from many people in this thread and nagging about what she disagrees with. I continue typing because at this stage I enjoy point-counter-point.

    Once again, notice how she wades through good and valid questions/points one after another to attack (with sarcasm usually) what she doesn’t agree with. Just like the rest of the malcontents in this country she refuses focus on anything that doesn’t directly impact her in a negative way. Malcontent. Hypocrite. Genader-biased. The more I view this thread, the bigger that list gets.

    “As for the movie, I remember being a dumb, horny teenager too. This movie (along with many others) does a fair impression, and maybe if I was still a teen it would be a laugh riot. As an adult, it just isn’t funny.”

    -almost perfect. You make the statement that as an adult it just isn’t funny. I’m sure that you are referring to yourself because you can’t possibly make that statement about adults nationwide. Critical and financial success suggest otherwise. You do recognize that it does a decent job of portraying that period of our lives but that you don’t find it funny as an adult. That is a 100% honest and valid argument and I commend your ability to look at it as “justifiably funny but not for me.”

    And the stick I was referring to wasn’t exactly “feminist.” More of a general stick. I don’t know why the stick is up her ass or where it came from. What’s important is that it’s there and needs dislodging.

  • MaryAnn

    Shynz, if you seriously think I’m going to debate the merits of feminism — and how far it still has to go — with you, you’re mistaken.

    Also: since when is 38 middle-aged?

  • sonicswoon

    What bugs me most about this review is that its obvious that the reviewer only saw what she expected to see before the movie even started. Bias will carry through.

    The behaviors of these characters are authentic and true to what real 17 year old guys would exhibit. The crudity of their language and subject matter is obviously just a mask for insecurity and fear they are feeling. I’m not being touchy feely here, that is just what the fricking premise of the film is based on. They are the picked on nerdy kids that inhabit every high school in America.

    Its totally overlooked by the reviewer that Evan, when given the opportunity to actually have sex, doesn’t, because the girl is drunk and he actually cares for her.

    Its equally overlooked that Seth is a gay kid on the cusp of coming out.

    Our reviewer knocks the writers for being shallow, but its really not that hard to see the depth of story that is beneath the slapstick and foul mouthed humor. I guess you could have told the same story with two Mormon kids, but it really wouldn’t have played as well.

    Give me a break.

  • MaryAnn

    (I love being talked about like I’m not here.)

  • Sean Hooks

    I enjoyed your take on Knocked Up, Ms. Johanson, but with this one (Superbad) maybe your aversion to these filmmakers/actors colored your vision going in. I consider myself a male feminist. I’m not gonna name drop a bunch of authors I’ve read or all that, but I think my understanding of gender issues is pretty progressive, enlightened, egalitarian, what have you. And like I said, I think your review of Knocked Up exposed a lot of the problems with contemporary American relationships, how far we’ve lowered the bar, the immaturity and hypocrisy, etc.

    I found both movies to be entertaining/above average comedies, despite the sociological underpinnings. I saw both on video/Netflix and don’t feel any worse for having seen them. For example, I think Superbad does a good job of crafting an original scene with the party the boys are taken to. Rarely do you see teens interact with slightly older people, the out of college mid 20s-mid 30s scene, and how quickly their ‘cool’ disintegrates in such an environment (as oposed to the same-age high school world or the unhip adults these movies usually surround teens with). Sera singing Guess Who lyrics in a room of cokeheads was a solid comedic premise. Yes, Superbad can’t lick the boots of the other male-dominant teen/coming-of-age films you mentioned, but I feel like maybe you leaned a little too far in the direction of the type of neo-liberals who teach Shakespeare through the Marxist or feminist or whatever-ist lens, harping on minor characters and plot points; instead of examining the text itself they make Shakespeare a subtext for their own agendas.

    Lastly, I think it was released before you started this site, but I wonder what your take is on Swingers. I’m a Gen X’er like yourself and for our generation it’s a much-loved comedy that nonetheless has aspects of sexism to it. Am I correct in assuming that it rankles you, or is this a misinterpretation of your particular brand of feminism?

    Sean

  • MaryAnn

    I’ve only seen *Swingers* once, years ago, and I don’t remember much about it except the catchphrases, so I can’t really speak to its possible sexism. Sorry.

  • johnny5

    I thought the movie was great and that it showed pretty close , the way it was in high school. It was great to be reminded how much fun we had even though we weren’t in the popular click that we always thought back then were having the “real” fun. I am not sure why you would want to show this in a more mature adult reminiscing way.

    The Evan character reminded me of myself considerably. I have also had two different friends who I didn’t see the movie with tell me how much Evan reminded them of me.

    One major difference though is it wasn’t me who had the super hot mom. It was my best friend. I tell
    you I said something to him at least weekly about what I’d like to do to her, and the line of being jealous he got to suck on those as a kid, was the exact kind of jokes I used to razz him with.

    The other great part was remembering back, how immature we used to be, and how it used to be me and my buddies weekly goal in life to pull alcohol, find a party, and a girl. Waiting outside the liqour store, trying to see what was going on inside, not that our friend was in there with fake id, we were usually just wondering if the adult bumb we had given our money to in the alley was actually coming back with our achohol, or if he had snuck out a different door.

    Hilarious.

  • chaldo

    you are an idiot…this is an instant classic. this movie was enjoyed by the whole nation, and you seem to be only one who has a problem with. Serioulsy, get the stick out of you ass and just sit back and enjoy a movie without over analyzing everything. Ive read a few of your reviews, and dont have any idea why you have your own website.

  • MaryAnn

    And now we see the intellectual level of those who actually like this movie.

    (Now, I know that’s not fair, and that lots of smart people liked this movie, too. But people like chaldo make it so easy…)

  • misterb

    At the risk of adding heat to the fire, MaryAnn, I would be very interested in your take on this little firestorm spinning around the Web.
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/points/stories/DN-hymowitz_27edi.ART0.State.Edition1.378ca5b.html

    The author seems to have observed the same phenomenon that you note in your reviews of this and similar movies (and she’s very media-focused), but I honestly don’t know if you would agree with her conclusions.

  • MaryAnn

    If she thinks it’s up to women and mass media to turn child-men into actual adults, then no, I do not agree with her conclusions. The media did not invent these overgrown adolescents: it’s merely catering to them. And while I recognize that many women see no problem in the idea of a fixer-upper of a guy they believe they can mold into a man, I do see a problem with that. It’s probably why I’m not married: I don’t want to be a mommy to my husband.

  • amanohyo

    MA is right. There have always been manchildren running around, it’s just that corporations gradually figured out that the longer they can keep men in this adolescent mindset, the more money they will spend on useless crap. So, they have been celebrating immaturity instead of condemning it (reminds me of the Brad Goodman Simpsons episode).

    Self-conscious, materialistic, ignorant people buy the most low-quality, easy-to-produce manufactured tripe. Let’s face it, most of us were self-conscious, ignorant, and materialistic when we were teens. The media, which is run by wealthy corporations wants you to become a teen as quickly as possible, preferrably before the age of 4, and then stay a teen for the rest of your life.

    The only problem is, irresponsible people have trouble with just about anything remotely important in life, so women get to pick up the pieces and “train” their husbands, all the while being labeled a control-freak or a bossy-bitch. This system only works as long as you can socialize girls to believe that they are supposed to be both wife and mommy (and trainer) for their significant other.

  • MaryAnn

    there have always been manchildren running around, it’s just that corporations gradually figured out that the longer they can keep men in this adolescent mindset, the more money they will spend on useless crap

    That’s not quite what I said. No one, not even an evil global megacorp (of which I am no fan, and am loathe to defend in any way), can make you do something you don’t want to do. Stupid movies — and other stupid pop culture — did not create a generation of manchildren. And as many, many nonadolescent actual grownups have proven, it *is* possible to create things that used to be considered “kid’s stuff” — like science fiction or video games or comic books — that *are* smart and adult and not juvenile, and that it’s possible to enjoy these kinds of things from the audience and still be a grownup. So there’s something else at work here.

  • amanohyo

    I don’t think that evil corporations are forcing people to do things that they don’t want to do. As people leave adolescence behind, they usually learn that there are many times when you have to do things you don’t want to do and make short-term sacrifices in order to achieve some worthwhile, long term goal.

    Some people are never able to fully understand this, and so they remain in childhood, always believing that they should be entitled to get whatever they want and do whatever they want all the time. They will never accomplish anything meaningful except by accident or as a result of extraordinary natural talent.

    I’m not saying the media/corporations are forcing people to become this way, almost everyone who experiences childhood goes through a selfish, ignorant phase. What is happening is that the media is overwhelmingly telling children and men that it’s okay and natural and your Cube-given right to remain in this phase indefinitely.

    I know it sounds as if I’m advocating some conspiracy theory, but I don’t mean to suggest that there is some tall, black building where an elite cadre of megalomaniacal CEOs micromanage all of society. I guess I’m just saying that there is a definite trend towards excusing this type of male immaturity, it is in large part profit driven, and women are expected to clean up most of the inevitable social fallout.

  • back in time

    Jesus woman… you didn’t grow up in the era. This is coming of age for 2007. It’s silly. Those movies you compared it to aren’t…

  • alligator

    the opinionated ones taste better

  • exactly!

    I hate these people with their perceived and defensively denied sense of superiority…

  • 7ish years later

    You didn’t need to be such a cunt about it.

    I guess that’s what some critics are paid for though.
    Enjoy be bad with relationships.

    Or you can lighten the fuck up and agree to disagree.
    You’re grading movies not judging culture by comparing it to movies that took a more serious take on adolescence.

    Hope you’re not like this anymore.

  • guest!

    Bitch! it’s written from the prospective of teenage boys with a focus on brotherly. Brotherly… Love. And not being afraid to embrace it in a culture where brotherly love is increasingly taboo.
    Your problem is instead of realizing something didn’t tickle your fancy you spewed shit from your mouth.

    Feb’s comment is spot on.

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