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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Greg Mottola
Cast:
Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Martha MacIsaac, Emma Stone, Aviva
Writing Credits:
Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Synopsis:
From the guy who brought you Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin comes Superbad. Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) want nothing more than to lose their virginity before they head off to college. To do that, though, they need to get liquor for the big party that night. With the help of their friend Fogell, a.k.a. McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and his fake I.D., the three of them go on a hilarious chase for that elusive booze, dodging incompetent cops (Knocked Up's Seth Rogen and Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader), angry neighbors and jealous boyfriends. Hailed as an "iconic comedy ... a true classic of its times" (Pete Hammond, Maxim), Superbad is "a laugh-out-loud masterpiece!"

Box Office:
Budget
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$33.052 million on 2948 screens.
Domestic Gross
$121.463 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $34.95
Release Date: 12/4/07

Bonus:
DVD One:
• Audio Commentary with Director Greg Mottola, Producer Judd Apatow, Writer/Executive Producer Evan Goldberg, Writer/Executive Producer/Actor Seth Rogen, and Actors Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse
• Previews
DVD Two:
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• “Line-O-Rama”
• Gag Reel
• “Cop Car Confessions”
• “The Making of Superbad” Featurette
• “The Vag-tastic Voyage”
• Table Read
• Auditions
• “Michael’s Voicemails from Jonah”
• “Snakes on Jonah”
• Dancing Title Sequence
• “TV Safe Lines”
• “Everyone Hates Michael Cera”
• On-Set Diaries
• “The Music of Superbad” Featurette
• “Press Junket Meltdown”
Pineapple Express First Look


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Superbad: Unrated Special Edition (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 19, 2007)

With 2007’s Superbad, the ascension of Seth Rogen continues! He earned his first hit as a leading man a few months earlier via Knocked Up, and Superbad shows that he can succeed behind the camera as well. Rogen plays a role in the flick, but his main contribution comes as the script’s co-writer along with Evan Goldberg.

We’ll see how Rogen capitalizes on his newfound fame, but he seems like a good guy, so I hope he enjoys a long career. Fans of Knocked Up will find some of the same profane elements in Superbad, though this flick takes a much less “adult” tone. Instead of the dealing-with-parenthood-and-responsibility theme of Knocked Up, Superbad hearkens back to the wild teen comedies of the Seventies and Eighties.

We meet teens Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) on the verge of their high school graduation. As that big change approaches, they want nothing more than to bag lots of hot girls before they leave. The best way to do this involves a) a big party and b) the acquisition of lots of booze. Given their status as minors, the latter becomes complicated, so they enlist their buddy Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and his fake ID to help. The movie follows the crazy night that comes along with their attempts to get the liquor and thus charm the ladies.

Not exactly War and Peace, is it? But stories certainly don’t need to aspire to greatness to succeed, and Superbad makes no pretensions about its goals. It wants to give us a light, loose laughfest – nothing more, nothing less. Can you read some “coming of age” sentiment into the result? Sure, but that’s your choice. If you want to simply take it as a wild comedic throwback, that works just as well.

With lead characters named “Seth” and “Evan”, it becomes tough not to see Superbad as autobiographical since guys named Seth and Evan wrote it. I don’t think we need to read a whole lot into that, though. Again, it’s not like this film attempts a deep reflection on the lives of teens or whatever.

The autobiographical part of things makes it a little hard to distance impressions of the Seth character from Rogen himself. Since Goldberg doesn’t act, we come with no preconceived notion of how the Evan character should act, but we maintain a good understanding of Rogen’s personality, so it seems natural to imagine him as Seth instead of Hill.

I’m happy that Hill doesn’t simply attempt to impersonate Rogen, but I think his performance is one of the film’s weaker areas. He looks like a tubby John Turturro and displays that actor’s intensity more than the genial tone of a Rogen. Seth the character always seems angry, and this comes across as an odd choice – not just because it doesn’t match the Rogen we know but because it makes Seth unlikable and irritating. Hill shouts most of his lines and often looks ready to explode. His performance annoys more than it amuses, unfortunately.

At least the other actors pick up the slack. Cena offers a nicely bumbling take on the clueless love-struck nerd character, and Mintz-Plasse is often hilarious, especially when he tries to be “McLovin”. Both play dorky roles, which could mean that they cancel each other out, but that doesn’t occur; they complement each other and provide good work.

Quite a lot of supporting actors add to the fun as well. Rogen himself turns up along with Bill Hader as two ridiculously incompetent cops, and a smattering of other small parts bring out a lot of fun. This kind of “one crazy evening” flick requires many goofy supporting characters to succeed, and Superbad manages to give of what we need.

Though not directed by Judd Apatow, Superbad feels like one of his flicks; indeed, he did act as a producer. I don’t want to imply that director Greg Mottola ripped off Apatow, especially since I don’t know what he would steal; it’s not like Apatow boasts a distinctive visual style or anything that clearly marks a film as his.

Actually, it’s the lack of flash found in Superbad that makes it resemble an Apatow flick. Apatow comes from the Kevin Smith school of filmmaking, whereby he presents a lot of funny stuff but doesn’t do much to create a visually compelling effort, and Mottola follows suit. I wouldn’t call this a clumsy piece of work, but it certainly doesn’t impress in terms of technical considerations.

Like Apatow, Mottola could also use more judicious editing. Superbad runs nearly two hours, and that’s probably about half an hour too much for this sort of film. It starts to run out of steam after a while, so the “less is more” approach likely would’ve benefited it.

But also like an Apatow effort, Superbad is entertaining enough to overcome its flaws. It’s probably not as good as Knocked Up, but it works well in its own right. If you want a mindless but funny two hours, this is a good choice.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus A-

Superbad appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though some of the visual concerns likely stemmed from stylistic choices, this remained a lackluster image.

Sharpness usually appeared acceptably accurate and detailed. At times, however, I found the image to come across as somewhat fuzzy and soft, with lesser definition seen in some of the wide shots. Nonetheless, most of the movie appeared clear and appropriately focused. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, but I noticed some light edge enhancement at times. Except for some intentional “defects” in the opening credits, no print flaws materialized; the film remained clean and fresh.

Colors were fairly accurate, though the flick’s yellow tint made them unappealing. Superbad went with the somewhat sickly tone as part of its Seventies throwback feel, but I didn’t think it was a great choice because it just made the hues unattractive. Blacks tended to be decent, though I thought the movie had a mildly overblown and bright look to it. Again, this appeared to be a stylistic selection, but it still created some distractions. When I tried to balance the film’s appearance with the filmmakers’ intentions, I thought a “B-“ was a fair grade for the visuals.

As for the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a functional effort and that was all. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of comedy, and I got exactly what I anticipated. Surround usage stayed limited most of the time. A few “action” scenes like a fight or some gunshots opened things up in a very minor way, but the rear speakers really had little to do here.

In those forward channels, the music provided decent stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but they conveyed a passable sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.

Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural, and speech displayed no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. Music lacked much low-end much of the time. Bass wasn’t poor, but it seemed lackluster. Otherwise the music came across as acceptably distinctive. This was a standard “comedy mix” and became a decent reproduction of the material.

Expect lots of extras on this two-disc set. On DVD One, we begin with an audio commentary from director Greg Mottola, producer Judd Apatow, writer/executive producer Evan Goldberg, writer/executive producer/actor Seth Rogen, and actors Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Some of them sit in New York and some of them in LA, but a teleconference allows them all to participate together during this running, screen-specific piece.

We start with a look at the project’s origins and development. From there we learn about cast and performances, how others came onto the flick, various aspects of the shoot, real-life influences for some story events, shooting digitally, and a mix of other issues. The commentary works well as a look at the production, and it also succeeds as a piece of entertainment. Actually, we get more time devoted to semi-related asides than we do actual info related to the flick.

That can often be a recipe for disaster, but it goes fine here. Some fun stories pop up, and there’s enough useful info to make sure that the piece functions in that domain. It’s a profane but amusing and interesting chat.

DVD One opens with an ad for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. This also appears in the Previews area along with clips for Talladega Nights, Reign Over Me, Vantage Point, Spider-Man 3, The Brothers Solomon, Resident Evil: Extinction, Seinfeld Season 9, Across the Universe, Life of Brian, I Know Who Killed Me, Feel the Noise, Hostel Part II and upcoming Blu-Ray titles.

Over on DVD Two, we find many addition materials. We start with seven Deleted and Extended Scenes that fill a total of 12 minutes, 40 seconds. These include “Evan’s House” (2:54), “Slater Talks About His Wives” (2:00), “Party Dude Makes Evan Dance” (1:53), “Jules’ Party” (1:00), “’What Do You Guys Do Anyway?’” (1:03), and “The Semen Conversation” (3:08). None of these offer anything substantial, and they certainly don’t contribute any excised story threads or themes. However, they are amusing, so they’re good to see.

More cut material comes from Line-O-Rama. It offers a four-minute and 15-second collection of alternate lines. These mostly come from scenes that made the flick but provide different takes. That makes them entertaining.

After this we find a four-minute and 28-second Gag Reel. These offer the usual goofs and giggles. A few interesting alternate lines also appear, but not enough to allow this to rise above the level of the standard blooper nonsense.

For something unusual, we head to Cop Car Confessions. A 33-minute and 40-second collection of short pieces, it takes a bunch of actors, pops them in the back seat of the Slater and Michaels cruiser and emulates Taxi Cab Confessions. This acts as a really fun extra. We find folks like Jane Lynch, Chris Kattan, Justin Long and Apatow himself as they play perps taken into custody. A lot of entertainment results from this quirky and cool addition to the package.

With that we move to the 13-minute and four-second The Making of Superbad. It offers the usual mix of movie clips, shots from the set and interviews. We hear from Rogen, Goldberg, Apatow, Mottola, Hill, Cera, Mintz-Plasse, and actors Martha MacIsaac, Emma Stone and Bill Hader. The show covers the basics of the project’s origins and development, as well as some cast and crew. Most of the info also appears in the commentary, so you won’t learn much here. However, some of the behind the scenes bits are good, especially since we get to meet the “real Fogell”.

Briefly seen in the film, The Vag-tastic Voyage goes for one minute, 12 seconds. It lets us see the Internet porn video in its entirety. I wouldn’t call it particularly stimulating, but it’s nice that we can view it on its own.

Next we get a view of the script’s Table Read. Actually, we find two different periods of table reads. We see some from 2002 in which “Seth reads Seth”, and we also check out 2006 reads. All together, these fill 28 minutes and 13 seconds. Since it uses other actors in the roles, the 2002 clip is the most interesting; in addition to Rogen as Seth, Martin Starr plays Fogel and Jason Segel reads Evan. The 2006 piece features the actors from the film, so it’s less compelling but still worth a look.

A collection of Auditions fill 13 minutes, 15 seconds. We discover try-outs for Cera (1:56), Hill (5:37) and Mintz-Plasse (5:41). Clips like this are always cool to see, and these aren’t exceptions to that rule. Actually, they’re surprisingly good – the first two, at least. Most auditions usually seem stiff and awkward, but for these, the actors feel right from the start. Mintz-Plasse isn’t as strong, mostly because he doesn’t know what to do with his hands, but he’s still positive.

For something unusual, we head to Michael’s Voicemails from Jonah. We hear four messages that Hill left for Cera at various points in the production. Cera also provides some text notes to put the voicemails in context. These reveal that Hill didn’t have to act much in the movie, as he naturally is profane and goofy. They’re entertaining.

Another quirky feature arrives via the four-minute and 46-second Snakes on Jonah. In it some weirdos put various reptiles and insects on Hill, who doesn’t enjoy the experience. I’m not sure what purpose this featurette serves, and it’s not as amusing as one might expect.

More behind the scenes footage arrives with &Dancing Title Sequence. The three-minute and 17-second clip shows the filming of the material used for the film’s opening. It’ becomes moderately interesting, as it’s nice to see the live-action shots they used.

Something more compelling comes to us with the three-minute and one-second TV Safe Lines. This shows us some of the replacement scenes shot for TV broadcast and also depicts the discussions that resulted in the “safe” language. “Lines” turns into a surprisingly fascinating short, as it shows the challenges that come with this territory. Everyone Hates Michael Cera. The six-minute and 43-second clip concentrates on the alleged animosity everyone on the film felt toward Cera. A similar piece showed up on Knocked Up. While it doesn’t fool anyone, of course, it’s still reasonably funny.

Actual behind the scenes material appears during the On-Set Diaries. This 17-minute and 44-second collection offers plenty of images from the set, as we watch various aspects of the production. There’s more joking around than usual for this kind of material, so don’t expect tons of cinematic insights. Nonetheless, it presents enough cool glimpses of the shoot to become worthwhile.

Next comes The Music of Superbad, a 13-minute and seven-second featurette. It presents notes from musicians Catfish Collins, Bernie Worrell, Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield and Bootsy Collins. They tell us a little about their past work and the film’s music. It’s not a terribly substantial piece, but it’s good to see all these legends play together.

We head back to fake negativity with the three-minute and 30-second Press Junket Meltdown. Hill and Cera go off after a series of antagonistic questions. The short offers mild amusement at best.

Finally, we get an advance look at 2008’s Pineapple Express First Look. The four-minute and 27-second clip simply shows one scene from the film; it features Rogen and James Franco. Though out of context, it’s amusing and sets the stage for the flick well.

If you expect a deep, inspiring cinematic journey, don’t watch Superbad. If you want a crude but clever and often very funny romp, Superbad will be a fine choice. The DVD presents decent picture and audio as well as a fun set of extras. Both an entertaining movie and a pretty good DVD, Superbad earns my recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6969 Stars Number of Votes: 33
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main