29 August 2007

Review: Superbad


Genre: Comedy (Adolescent Hijinks)

OK, I couldn't resist that little addendum to Genre. "Hijinks" is such a great word for this stuff. But, really, the hijinks that the endearingly charming characters of Superbad undergo are pure teenage (sex-)comedy gold. While Superbad is certainly to no landmark accomplishment, it is clearly a triumph for its trendy sub-genre whose history is riddled with stock characters, bad plot twists, and cheesy maudlin motivations.
Superbad, on the other hand, is replete in supply of original characters with typical but not tired motivations and story arcs. "Typical but not tired": I think, that is at the heart of what makes this film so good. Its developments and people are real, born of today's climate of crossing-cultured MySpace pervasions, satyriatic but earnest young-male sexual perspectives, relationship asseveration based on emotional honesty regardless of its constituents' vital data, and a marked and unembarrassed frankness about all matters, especially those deemed unconventional, or (for the purpose of context with its category) non-stock. The boys were not sex-crazed goofballs with lofty aspirations concerning how to get laid for the first time; they were not those fiercely heterosexual wannabes so afraid of guy-to-guy feelings and so 'eager to show their chest hair', that any thought of camaraderie and friendly intimacy need be validatingly mediated by the extensions of their female (structural) counterparts; they were not even the dressed up, clueless, and often incapable of being aught but single-minded pretty boys that so wildly populate the cinematic teenage universe - not even in a 'Beauty-and-the-Geek'/hot--post--girl-inspired--make-over way; and, most importantly, they were not the prescribed variety of males almost branded onto the 'high-school buddy flick.' They were normal; they were smart (i. e., pliable to thoughtful discourse and **self-aware**); they were believable *and* entertaining. And this whole inspired magic of original exploration of people as people (i. e., not types) stretches well beyond the leading three: Consider the cops, and the liquor store's check-out girl, for even she has a (funnily) credible backstory. I thoroughly applaud the screenwriter's work in this regard (and in his attention to closed arcs and structure).
And the rest is just apt icing on the cake.
Kudos, Superbad, for, as the (presumed) thought behind your self-aware, ironic title suggests, you're pretty good.

Grade: B :)

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