Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Greg Mottola|
|Music by||Lyle Workman|
|Edited by||William Kerr|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$170.8 million|
Superbad is a 2007 American coming-of-age teen comedy film directed by Greg Mottola and produced by Judd Apatow. The film 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. Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the script began development when they were 13 years old, and was 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.
Upon release, the film received positive reviews, with critics praising the dialogue and the chemistry between the two leads. The film also proved financially successful, grossing over $170 million on a $20 million budget.
Seth and Evan are two high school seniors who have been best friends since childhood. The two are about to go off to different colleges. After Seth is paired with Jules during home economics class, she invites him to a party at her house that night. Their friend Fogell reveals his plans to obtain a fake I.D., so Seth promises to buy alcohol for Jules' party with money she gives him. Evan runs into his love interest Becca and he offers to get her an expensive bottle of vodka for the party. Despite Fogell's fake I.D. having only one name, "McLovin", Fogell successfully buys the liquor, but is knocked out at the last second by a robber. When police officers Slater and Michaels arrive, Seth and Evan believe that Fogell is being arrested. In reality, the officers agree to give Fogell a ride to the party.
Outside, Seth is hit by a car. 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, using their sirens improperly, and shoot their firearms at a stop sign. At the party, Seth fills detergent bottles from the basement with alcohol he finds in the fridge and dances with a drunk woman, who stains his leg with menstrual blood, while Evan is made to sing by some men high on cocaine. About to leave, Seth is confronted by the host for dancing with his fiancée. A brawl ensues. The fiancée calls the police, while Seth and Evan escape.
Evan and Seth argue about the fact that Evan is going to a different college from Seth and will be rooming with Fogell instead, before Seth is once again hit by a car - the police cruiser driven by Slater and Michaels. They plan to arrest Seth and Evan, but when Fogell comes out of the car, Evan makes a run for it, while Seth and Fogell escape with the alcohol. Eventually all three make their way to Jules' party. At the party, Seth's stories of the night make him popular. Becca wants to have sex with Evan, but he respects her too much to go through with it while she is drunk. Meanwhile, Fogell impresses Nicola 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. Seth believes he has ruined any chance of a relationship with Jules, and passes out, accidentally headbutting her, leaving her with a black eye.
Slater and Michaels bust the party. Seth wakes up and escapes, carrying an intoxicated Evan. Slater interrupts Fogell and Nicola, who runs off. Slater is angry at Fogell for ditching them, but Michaels points out they have just "cock-blocked" him, and they apologize, reconcile, and reveal they knew all along that Fogell was not 25. They played along, wanting to show cops can have fun. To make it up to him, they pretend to arrest Fogell to make him look "bad-ass." They resume their bonding, eventually destroying their car with a Molotov cocktail while Fogell shoots it with Slater's firearm.
Seth and Evan return to Evan's house, where Evan admits he doesn't want to room with Fogell at college next year but is afraid to live with strangers. The two apologize to each other before reconciling. The next morning, they go to the mall where they run into Jules and Becca. Becca and Seth apologize for their drunken behaviour the previous night, and the boys pair off with the girls. Seth takes Jules to buy concealer for her bruise, while Evan and Becca leave to buy a new comforter to replace the one that Becca ruined by vomiting on it. As they separate, the two friends look back at one another, sad that their adventures are coming to an end.
The film 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. 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. The film took seven years to complete from early scripting in 2000 and filming from 2006 to 2007.
Other notable filming locations include the convenience store at the beginning of the film, also in Culver City, the liquor store where "McLovin" gets IDed in Glendale, California, and the bar where the cops take McLovin for a drink is neighboring Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
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 only 17 at the time of filming Superbad, and as a result, his mother was required to be present on set during his sex scene.
Superbad opened at number one at the United States box office, grossing US$33,052,411 in its weekend from 2,948 theaters for an average of US$11,212 per theater. The film stayed at #1 the second week, grossing US$18,044,369.
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 US$20 million, the film earned a huge financial profit, 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).
Superbad received acclaim from critics, with praise going towards the screenplay and performances (particularly Hill, Cera and Mintz-Plasse). On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 88% based on reviews from 208 critics, with an average rating of 7.45/10. 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." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 76/100 based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A- on scale of A to F.
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle called it 2007's most successful comedy. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times had the headline of his review read "McLovin It," and gave the film 3 stars (out of 4) and said "The movie reminded me a little of National Lampoon's Animal House, except that it's more mature, as all movies are." 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." 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. Devin Gordon of Newsweek said "As a Revenge of the Nerds redux, Superbad isn't perfect. But it's super close."
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."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. Adam Graham of The Detroit News said, "the cops belong in a bad Police Academy sequel, not this movie", and also that the film "falls short of teen-classic status." Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel called the film "super-derivative", "super-raunchy", and "Freaks and Geeks: Uncensored." Moore went on to say the film shamelessly plagiarizes from films such as Can't Hardly Wait and American Graffiti. He also said, "Like Knocked Up, this is a comedy they don't know how to end. The energy flags as it overstays its welcome." 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."
Superbad was released via DVD, UMD and Blu-ray on December 4, 2007, 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.
Two tie-in books to the film were published by Newmarket Press: