Superbad (review)

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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.

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Chris
Chris
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:40am

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
MaryAnn
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:53am

Oh, I’m so glad I never saw that.

bill
bill
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 1:06am

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
tom
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 1:54am

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
Benjamin
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 1:56am

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
william shakespear
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 7:12am

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
Chris
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 8:27am

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
amanohyo
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 8:30am

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
MaryAnn
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 9:10am

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
Joe
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 9:38am

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
MBI
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 10:09am

“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
jose
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 11:36am

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

D
D
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 11:39am

You’re shrill.

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

Jester
Jester
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:03pm

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

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:23pm

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
zoetree
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:25pm

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
J
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:40pm

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
amanohyo
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:45pm

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
Dave
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:52pm

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
Dave
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 12:53pm

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
Fuggle
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 1:09pm

“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
Moe
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 1:16pm

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
Moe
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 1:35pm

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
Jesse
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 1:45pm

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
Parad1gm
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 2:35pm

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
misterb
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 3:01pm

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
Benjamin
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 3:09pm

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
david
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 4:26pm

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

Li
Li
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 7:27pm

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
Giles
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 8:22pm

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
JoshDM
Fri, Aug 17, 2007 11:06pm

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
Puppetbrain
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 12:44am

Wow, bitter really suits you.

Drave
Drave
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 12:59am

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
JT
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 1:07am

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
DR
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 3:28am

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

Billy
Billy
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 5:06am

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
amanohyo
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 8:38am

“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
MaryAnn
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 11:27am

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
Ken
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 11:31am

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
Moe
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 12:34pm

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
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 12:44pm

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
MBI
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 2:08pm

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
Scott P
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 2:34pm

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
Scott P
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 2:47pm

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
MaryAnn
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 2:52pm

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
misterb
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 3:22pm

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
Giles
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 3:57pm

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
Giles
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 4:13pm

“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
Ken
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 4:46pm

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
Lucie
Sat, Aug 18, 2007 4:46pm

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.)