Jonah Hill and Michael Cera are Superbad.
The '71 James Brown single may have been inspiration, and the opening credits may undeniably emulate that go-to retro color scheme [orangeinality!], but the 2007 film ['Superbad' as opposed to 'Super Bad'] is pretty much as far as one can get from Black soul music and occasionally corresponding Blaxploitation cinema. And this is neither a good or bad thing; the two disparate styles are genuinely wonderful in their own respective contexts.
Written by Seth Rogen [TV's 'Undeclared'] and Evan Goldberg [HBO's Da Ali G. Show] and directed by Greg Mottola [also of 'Undeclared' repute], the full-length format was a first for several parties involved. That inexperience didn't show, however. The movie was, despite the seeming lack of a plot and ubiquitous vulgarity, incredibly well-written, acted and executed. With a story line this simple, it might have been easy to go astray: three friends attempt to find booze in order to then potentially get laid in the final weeks before the end of their senior year of high school.
It's [lame on paper] straightforwardness belies its mostly-tactful mix of humor and heart; foul-mouthed though it may be, there didn't seem to be a two-minute in-theater stretch in which the majority of people weren't laughing hard and genuinely. The characters--all weirdly charming in their own awkward, twisted way--are played tactfully/sophomorically by Jonah Hill [Accepted, Knocked Up, Evan Almighty], Michael Cera [TV's Arrested Development] and first-timer Christopher Mintz-Plasse [who plays a dude named McLovin]. There was a time, of course, when studios deemed it too risky to have young actors play young people. With the mighty pull of producer Judd Apatow [40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up], however, most of the main characters are refreshingly played by actors under the age of twenty [remember how Judd Nelson was 26 in Breakfast Club?].
In response to the movie, I queried several Circus employees about their reactions to the film. Business manager Pete Brinkerhoff offers this tidbit: "Superbad is super good" . . . you have a way with words, Peter. Circus owner Neil Snow announced additionally that he would "be adding that one to the permanent collection" upon its appearance on DVD or, dare we say, Blu-Ray.
The bottom line is that heartfelt humor is hard to come by these days. The comedy within the film is, if at times vulgar, simultaneously harmless; despite one character's taste for pornography, there is nothing seedy about the calculation and thriftiness with which he decides upon solely one site to subscribe to in the coming year at college; a male accidentally punching the boob of a girl he admires is hilarious, if not the tiniest bit distasteful. And it is rare, on top of all this, that through a series of unlikely events, the awkwardness that embodies high school for virtually everyone is brought accurately to the screen; occasionally hyperbolized but pretty much spot-on nonetheless.
Go see Superbad. Bring a friend. And be unapologetic when you laugh at the jokes.