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has opening credits that would seem more appropriate to a 70s blaxploitation film, and its title harkens back to a something like


. But


is set in the present with an almost entirely white cast.


hones in on one night in the lives of Seth, Evan and their friends, much like

American Graffiti

took to the streets of northern San Francisco for one emblematic night of teen life in 1962. The goal for Seth and Evan is simple: get liquor and bring it to a party thrown by one of the cool kids whos invited Seth only because he said he had fake I.D. According to Seth, their whole lives depend on the success of this mission. But neither Seth nor Evan have a fake I.D. so they have to rely on their even geekier friend Fogell (Christopher Mintz Plasse), who just scored a fake I.D.

Jonah Hill and Michael Sera as friends in Superbad (Columbia Pictures)

Things, needless to say, go from bad to worse. Fogell tries to use his fake I.D. but the liquor store hes at gets robbed. Then the cops (played by Seth Rogen and Bill Hader) arrive and are annoyingly helpful. Meanwhile, Seth and Evan try to pinch some booze from another party and only end up in a fight.

Superbad aims lowin so many waysand achieves its goals. Its a crudely funny teen comedy with a particular emphasis on sex jokes and Seth's obsession with drawing "man dicks" (Warning: Link is to R-rated film clip) . Superbad 's characters aren't as sweetly likable as those Apatow creates, but they are redeemed by how much they care for each other. It's not often that you have friends say they love each other and mean it, especially when they are teenage boys. Superbad looks to the same kind of friendship as Stand By Me , In Stand By Me , the adult looking back on his youth says, "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?" Seth and Evan are those kind of friends but maybe they managed to stay friends into adulthood considering that Rogen and Goldberg penned this script.

As directed by Greg Mottola, the cast could have been steered toward more appealing less screechy performances. But what you come to realize it that it really doesnt matter if the characters are likable or not, what matters more is that they share a strong bond together. It's their ability to care for each other that eventually wins us over. Mottola keeps the pace up as he intercuts between the misadventures of Seth and Rogen on their booze quest, and Fogell who's stuck riding in the cop car all night. Fogell's experience with the two cops who just seem to want to buddy up with the nerdy kid, provide some of the funniest and silliest scenes in the film.

Superbad (rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content, strong language, drinking, some drug use and a fantasy/comic violent image, all involving teens--that's the MPAA's description but it reads like a promotion for the film) is the perfect crude teen comedy to end the summer on. It's funny, a little bittersweet and it signals something coming to an end.

Companion viewing: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Diner , Freaks and Geeks (TV), American Grafitti, Stand By Me

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