Superbad
R
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

Seth Rogen, Michael Cera, Jonah Hill. Comedy. Written by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen. Directed by Greg Mottola

FILM SYNOPSIS: From producers Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), and screenwriters Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen (Da Ali G Show) comes Superbad, a coming-of-age cautionary tale about two socially inept teenage boys about to graduate high school. Theirs is a ridiculously dependent friendship -- but now they've gotten into different colleges and are forced to contemplate life apart. Evan (Michael Cera) is gentle, smart, and generally terrified. Seth (Jonah Hill) is foul-mouthed, volatile, and all-consumed with the topic of human sexuality. This is the story of their misguided attempts to reverse a lifelong losing streak with the ladies in one panic-driven night.

PREVIEW REVIEW: It must be difficult for those unfamiliar with movies made pre-todays rating codes to comprehend comedy without crudity. Indeed, todays comic films give evidence that crudity simply isnt a turnoff to moviegoers anymore. For example, I recently saw a film where even a classy-looking lady sitting behind me roared at the sight of a man splattered with human feces. Sensibilities have changed, but I cant help but think that audiences are being cheated by the excessive amount of bad behavior on the movie screen. You see, anatomical and scatological humor are the easiest ways to elicit a response that passes for merriment. Its the shock value causing the response, because we arent supposed to say or do certain things in public. Make no mistake; a flatulence sound effect is not wit. It causes a response from the viewer due to the uncontrolled behavior, but Noel Coward it aint. But thats what constitutes the vast majority of humorous situations in todays comedies inebriants passing wind or people puking on somebodys shoes. So when I attend a film aimed at a young audience, such as Superbad, I can expect a certain degree of rude conduct. And Superbad doesnt disappoint.

The leads have good timing, theres actually a sturdy story structure and beneath the excessive coarseness, theres a sweet spirit, a lesson about friendship. But the key word in that sentence is excessive. Not a scene goes by that the s- or f-words dont appear or there isnt a sophomoric reference to the female form. And in each act, someone vomits. Its not the crudest movie Ive seen. Last years Clerks 2 has that distinction. But, its a close runner-up.

It amazes me that there just doesnt seem to be a limit to the offensive things that can be done or said on screen, or that producers continue to be paid enormous amounts of money to make products that further desensitize a generation. Look around people are getting more uncouth with the aid of each round of summer teen pleasers. I swear, in another decade, Generations X, Y, and Z will all be back in caves.

But if you see this one, youll laugh. I guess thats all that counts.

I will attempt not be overly graphic in my content descriptions. I think, however, when you read the reasons for the rating, youll agree that when your teens ask to go to the movie (and make no mistake, despite the rating, teens are the target audience), youll have only one recourse. Beat them.

Video Alternative:Dancer, Texas Pop. 81. This engaging comic drama from 1998 concerns four graduating high school chums set to leave their teeny, tiny town due to a vow they made in grade school. Good technical aspects, fine performances by unknown cast, and it is a pleasure to see a film about teens without the usual crudity, exploitation and profane language. It is rated PG (a few mild expletives & 1 obscenity, but no misuse of Gods name; muted sexual innuendo as a neer-do-well father brings home a date, but no sex scenes). Hard to find. Theres a reason for that. Its good.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Sony Pictures

Summary
Crude Language: Throughout. You wouldnt believe.
Obscene Language: Throughout. Its difficult for the one lead to form simple declarative sentences without the inclusion of something vulgar, uncouth or tactless.
Profanity: Oh, they didnt forget the Creator of the universe or mankinds Savior there are four profane uses of their name, as well.
Violence: Mostly played for slapstick laughs, but a teen is hit by a car, twice, then hit by a thrown baseball bat; another gets hit by a mugger; dangerous car chases are enacted. Other people get punched or knocked unconscious. A girl accidentally gets punched in the eye. Blood: Some blood is seen on a teens pant leg after a young woman having her period dances too close to him (and I put that a lot less crudely than the film does). In a daydream, a teen sees himself murdered by having his throat slit. We see blood oozing from a fake-looking wound.
Sexual Intercourse: Its talked about throughout; there are a couple of sexual situations between inebriated teens. Theres a montage of a kid drawing penises.
Nudity: A porn video is viewed by teens, with nudes in sexual activity; many girls are provocatively dressed.
Homosexual Conduct: It is implied that the two leads may be in love with each other.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Throughout
Drug Abuse: Excessive underaged drinking is seen at a teen party. Drug use is seen at that same party, but the leads show no interest in taking narcotics.
Other: Cops are mocked. Two policemen act destructively, even setting their patrol car on fire. Oh, and several people get to vomit on screen. Just too funny.
Running Time: 114 minutes
Intended Audience: Adolescents

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