Superbad

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Superbad
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGreg Mottola
Written by
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyRuss Alsobrook
Edited byWilliam Kerr
Music byLyle Workman
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
Running time
113 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$17.5–20 million[3][4]
Box office$170.8 million[4]

Superbad is a 2007 American coming-of-age teen buddy comedy film directed by Greg Mottola, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and produced by Judd Apatow. It stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as Seth and Evan, two teenagers about to graduate from high school. Before graduating, the boys want to party and lose their virginity, but their plan proves harder than expected.

Rogen and Goldberg wrote the script during their teenage years. It is loosely based on their experience in Grade 12 at Point Grey Secondary School in Vancouver during the 1990s. The main characters have the same given names as the two writers. Rogen was also initially intended to play Seth, but due to age and physical size this was changed, and Hill went on to portray Seth, while Rogen portrayed the irresponsible Officer Michaels, opposite Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader as Officer Slater.

Superbad premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on August 13, 2007. Upon release, the film received positive reviews, with critics praising the dialogue and the chemistry between the two leads as well as the performances of the supporting cast. The film also proved financially successful, grossing over $170 million on a $17.5–20 million budget. Since the film's release, it has garnered acclaim as one of the best comedies of the 2000s and as one of the best high school movies of all time. It has been hailed as one of the defining movies of the Millennial generation.[5][6]

Plot[edit]

Seth and Evan are childhood best friends and high school seniors who are about to go off to different colleges.

Seth's love interest, Jules, invites him to a party at her house. Seth and Evan's friend Fogell plans to obtain a fake ID, so Seth promises to buy Jules alcohol for the party. Evan runs into his own love interest, Becca, and offers to get her a specific bottle of vodka.

Despite the obviously fake ID, Fogell successfully buys the liquor, but is knocked out by a robber. When police officers Slater and Michaels arrive, Seth and Evan, who are outside, believe that Fogell is being arrested. In fact, the officers have agreed to give "McLovin" a ride to the party.

While outside the liquor store, Seth is hit by a motorist. In exchange for Seth and Evan not telling the police, the driver promises to take them to another party, where they can get alcohol. Meanwhile, Slater and Michaels take Fogell on a ride-along and then bond with him. Despite being on duty, they start drinking, use their sirens improperly, and shoot at a stop sign.

At the party, Seth fills laundry detergent bottles from the basement with alcohol and dances with a drunk girl. She stains his leg with menstrual blood, while a group of intoxicated men make Evan sing "These Eyes" for them. Seth is confronted by the party's host for dancing with his fiancée, and a brawl ensues; the police are called, while Seth and Evan escape.

Seth begins to chastise Evan for bailing on him; explaining that they had made childhood plans to go to college together but Evan got accepted into Dartmouth. Evan retorts that Seth is selfish and has held him back for years, concluding he does not want Seth to slow him down anymore. As they begin to argue more, Seth is again hit by a car – the police cruiser driven by Slater and Michaels. They plan to pin the blame of the crash on Seth, but as Fogell emerges from the car, Evan makes a run for it, and Seth and Fogell escape with the alcohol. Eventually, all three make their way to Jules' party.

At the party, Fogell inadvertently reveals that he and Evan will be rooming together at college, upsetting Seth. Seth's stories of the night's antics make him popular, while Becca wants to have sex with Evan, who declines since she is drunk.

Meanwhile, Fogell impresses Nicola, an attractive foreign exchange student, and goes upstairs to have sex with her. Seth drunkenly attempts to kiss Jules, but she turns him down because she neither drinks nor wants Seth while he is drunk. He believes he has ruined his chances with her, then passes out, accidentally headbutting Jules and giving her a black eye.

Slater and Michaels bust the party. Seth wakes up and escapes, carrying an intoxicated Evan. Slater busts in on Fogell and Nicola having sex, causing her to run off. Slater yells at Fogell for ditching them, but Michaels points out they just interrupted him. They apologize and reveal they knew all along that Fogell was underage but played along, wanting to show cops can have fun too. To make it up to Fogell, they pretend to arrest him outside to successfully make him look "badass". They resume their bonding, eventually destroying their car with a Molotov cocktail while Fogell shoots it with Slater's gun.

Seth and Evan have a sleepover together at Evan's, where Seth reveals that he learned weeks earlier that Evan and Fogell planned to live together at college. Evan admits he does not want to room with Fogell but is afraid to live with strangers. They apologize to each other before reconciling.

The next day, Seth and Evan visit the mall and run into Jules and Becca. Becca and Seth apologize for their drunken behavior, and the boys pair off with the girls: Seth takes Jules to buy concealer for the black eye he gave her, while Evan and Becca leave to buy a comforter to replace the one she drunkenly vomited on.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Superbad was written by Goldberg and Rogen during their teen years. It is loosely based on their own experience as seniors in Vancouver in the late 1990s, hence the character names Seth and Evan. Other characters and references were influenced by Goldberg and Rogen's adolescence, such as Steven Glanzberg, their peer at Point Grey Secondary School, characterized in the film as a loner.[7] According to an interview at an event panel in 2009, Fogell was also a real friend of Rogen and Goldberg. Rogen was initially slated to play Hill's character Seth, but due to his physical size and age, he played one of the police officers.[8] When asked where he wants to be dropped off, Fogell tells the officers to take him to 13th and Granville, a nod to Rogen and Goldberg's favorite all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant in Vancouver.[9] Superbad took seven years to complete from early scripting in 2000 and filming from 2006 to 2007.[citation needed] Among the films that served as inspiration for Superbad were Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and American Graffiti.[8]

Filming[edit]

The film was primarily shot in Los Angeles in 2006.[10] Exterior shots of the high school were filmed at El Segundo High School.[11] The mall scenes were shot at the Fox Hills Mall in Culver City, California.[12]

Other filming locations include the convenience store at the beginning of the film, also in Culver City,[13] the liquor store where "McLovin" gets IDed in Glendale, California,[14] and the bar where the cops take McLovin for a drink is neighboring Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).[15] The scene where McLovin and the cops do donuts in the cop car was filmed in a parking lot on the California State University, Northridge campus.

Mintz-Plasse was 17 at the time of filming Superbad, and as a result, his mother was required to be present on set during the filming of his sex scene.[16][17]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg at a Superbad panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2007

Superbad opened at number one at the United States box office, grossing US$33,052,411 in its opening weekend from 2,948 theaters for an average of US$11,212 per theater.[18] The film stayed at #1 the second week, grossing US$18,044,369.[18]

The film grossed US$121.5 million in the United States and Canada and US$48.4 million in other countries, for a total of US$169.9 million worldwide. Compared to the budget of $17.5–20 million, the film earned a huge financial profit,[4][3] making it the highest domestic grossing high school comedy at the time (it was surpassed by 21 Jump Street, a film also starring Hill, in 2012).[19]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 87% based on reviews from 207 critics, with an average rating of 7.40/10. The website's consensus reads, "Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience."[20] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 76/100 based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[21] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A− on scale of A to F.[22]

Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle called it 2007's most successful comedy.[23] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times had the headline of his review read "McLovin It", and gave the film 312 out of 4 stars, and said "The movie reminded me a little of National Lampoon's Animal House, except that it's more mature, as all movies are."[24] Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times said "Physically, Hill and Cera recall the classic comic duos—Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Aykroyd and Belushi. But they are contemporary kids, sophisticated and sensitive to nuance"; she added, "I hope it's not damning the movie with the wrong kind of praise to say that for a film so deliriously smutty, Superbad is supercute."[25] Sean Burns of Philadelphia Weekly said "2007: the year Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen saved movie comedy", a reference to Knocked Up which was released in June.[26] Devin Gordon of Newsweek said "As a Revenge of the Nerds redux, Superbad isn't perfect. But it's super close."[27]

In a more critical vein, Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter, compared the film to other films with a single-day structure, such as American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused, but said that Superbad "doesn't have the smarts or the depths of those ensemble comedies."[28] The Hollywood Reporter review was referenced in the film's DVD audio commentary, particularly the review's suggestion that the two main characters have a homoerotic experience similar to the film Y Tu Mamá También.[29] Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel called the film a "super-derivative, super-raunchy sack of laughs" and a "great vulgarian send-off to the summer of Knocked Up" that plays like "Freaks and Geeks: Uncensored."[30] Moore concluded, "The energy flags as it overstays its welcome. The Apatow Rule, 'If it gets a laugh, don't cut it,' doesn't do movies under his banner any favors. Still, there are plenty of those laughs, from the ruder-than-rude opening to the ironic-sentimental ending."[30] Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe said the film "has a degree more sophistication than Revenge of the Nerds and American Pie, and less than the underrated House Party." Morris also said, "the few smart observations could have come from an episode of one of Apatow's TV shows" and "I wanted to find this as funny as audiences did."[31]

Accolades[edit]

The film was listed as #487 on Empire's 500 Greatest films of all time.[32]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2007 Austin Film Critics Association Awards Breakthrough Artist Michael Cera Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Comedy Movie Superbad Nominated
Best Young Actor Michael Cera Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Most Promising Performer Michael Cera Won
Empire Awards Best Comedy Superbad Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie – Comedy/Musical Superbad Nominated
2008 Canadian Comedy Awards Best Writing Seth Rogen Won
Best Male Performance Michael Cera Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance Jonah Hill Nominated
Best Movie Superbad Nominated
Breakthrough Performance Michael Cera Nominated
Jonah Hill Nominated
Christopher Mintz-Plasse Nominated
Peabody Awards Best New Comedy Performance Superbad Nominated
Young Hollywood Awards Exciting New Face Emma Stone Won

Home media[edit]

Superbad was released via DVD, UMD and Blu-ray on December 4, 2007,[3] in two versions: theatrical (113 minutes) and unrated (118 minutes). Special features include deleted scenes, an audio commentary with cast and crew, line-o-ramas (a feature most associated with Apatow films), a making-of, and a number of short featurettes.[33]

Books[edit]

Two tie-in books to the film were published by Newmarket Press:

  • Superbad: The Illustrated Moviebook (ISBN 9781557047984) was published on December 4, 2007, to coincide with the release of the film on DVD. This official companion book includes an introduction by producer Judd Apatow; the complete script by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg; commentaries by Apatow, Rogen and Goldberg, and journalists from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Entertainment Weekly; 56 film stills; "Mr. Vagtastic Guide to Buying Porn;" and 24 "phallographic" drawings by David Goldberg that viewers will recognize from the film's end credits.
  • Superbad: The Drawings (ISBN 9781557048080) was published on February 14, 2008. This gift hardcover art book contains 82 "phallographic" drawings created by David Goldberg (Evan Goldberg's brother) for the film.

Soundtrack[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Netburn, Deborah (August 14, 2007). "'Superbad' premiere chock-full of comedic superstars". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  2. ^ "Superbad (15)". British Board of Film Classification. July 5, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Superbad (2007) – Financial Information". The Numbers.
  4. ^ a b c "Superbad (2007)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.
  5. ^ Lu, Garry (July 30, 2021). "Why 'Superbad' Is The Greatest Millennial Comedy Of All Time". Boss Hunting.
  6. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 10 Funniest Movies of the 2000s". Rolling Stone. July 30, 2014.
  7. ^ "Seth Rogen's Vancouver high school misadventures hit the big screen". CBC News. August 17, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Moore, Roger (August 17, 2007). "If you want to be 'Superbad,' you'd better learn from the best". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on December 26, 2022. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  9. ^ Rogen, Seth [@Sethrogen] (June 25, 2019). "It's also where the all you can eat sushi place that we used to go to all the time in high school was" (Tweet). Retrieved April 5, 2021 – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "Where was Superbad (2007) Filmed". Wwifdb.com. August 17, 2007. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  11. ^ "Superbad (2007) – High School Exterior". Wwifdb.com. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  12. ^ "Superbad (2007) – The Mall". Wwifdb.com. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  13. ^ "Superbad (2007) – Convenience Store". Wwifdb.com. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  14. ^ "Superbad (2007) – McLovin get's ID-ed". Wwifdb.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  15. ^ "Cops take McLovin to a bar". Wwifdb.com. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  16. ^ "Is this it?". The Guardian. January 16, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  17. ^ Andrew Buss (August 17, 2022). ""It's Either Going to Be Really Funny, or They're Going to Be Horrified": An Oral History of Superbad". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  18. ^ a b "Superbad (2007) – Weekend Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 24, 2007.
  19. ^ "Charts – High School Comedy". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on July 10, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  20. ^ "Superbad (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  21. ^ "Superbad". metacritic. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
  22. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  23. ^ LaSalle, Mick (August 16, 2007). "Review: Teens on a mission to buy booze in 'Superbad'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  24. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 16, 2007). "Reviews :: Superbad". RogerEbert.com.
  25. ^ Chocano, Carina (August 17, 2007). "'Superbad's' teen raunch isn't what's shocking; it's the love story". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 24, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  26. ^ Burns, Sean (August 15, 2007). "Geek Outlook". Philadelphia Weekly. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  27. ^ Gordon, Devin (August 20, 2007). "Revenge of the Nerds". Newsweek. Archived from the original on August 28, 2007.
  28. ^ Farber, Stephen (August 7, 2007). "Superbad". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2007.
  29. ^ The DVD audio commentary on the Superbad: Unrated Extended Edition DVD.
  30. ^ a b Moore, Roger (August 17, 2007). "It's like an uncensored version of Freaks & Geeks". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on July 2, 2021. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  31. ^ Morris, Wesley (August 17, 2007). "It's a nerd, he's in pain – it's Superbad". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  32. ^ "500 Greatest films of all time". Empire. Retrieved July 4, 2021.
  33. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (December 4, 2007). "DVD Review: 'Superbad'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 26, 2022.

External links[edit]