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* Editors Note: Unfortunately Sony Pictures Home Entertainment did not supply us with both of the discs in the two-disc set. For the purpose of the review, the title will be scored as a single disc release.
 

Feature


Seth and Evan have operated on the lower end of the social scale at their high school until their last weeks before going off to college, when they are invited to a party by the objects of their affection. This comes under the condition that they can supply the party-goers with booze. They see this as the best way to kick start their sex lives, but their well-laid plans are complicated at every turn by events leading up to the party. Can they get their hands on alcohol and get their girls drunk enough to get their respective ends away?

 Superbad
End of school. Sex-obsessed teens going off to college. A party at the end. Ring any bells? I found it difficult not to draw comparisons between Superbad and American Pie from the first time I saw the trailer, but eight years passed between the first slice of Pie and the release of Judd Apatow’s shot at a high school sex comedy so that qualifies as a new generation of kids to gross out. The premise is very simple and is probably familiar to plenty of red-blooded males with questionable morals out there—get the chicks drunk and get them in the sack.

That’s where Superbad left me feeling a little uneasy and where I think it fails in the ambition it has to be a standard-setting comedy. As producer Judd Apatow states on the commentary, he wanted to make a ‘comedy with balls’, but may have failed to notice that half the potential audience of this movie don’t have any. Significant time is spent with the central male characters, building their relationships and setting up their desires, but unlike American Pie, little concern is given for the female characters, who are painted as little more than cannon fodder for our undersexed heroes.

 Superbad
It might be offensive if it wasn’t so stupid. The comedy is very broad and at almost two hours long (surely at least twenty minutes too long for a movie of this type) there should be something in here to make most people chortle, or at the very least titter. If dick and semen gags are your kind of thing then you’ll be laughing from beginning to end. I’m starting to sound like a right stick-in-the-mud now, but I have to say that the whole McLovin thing was lost on me. If someone could explain to me why it’s funny, I promise I’ll laugh.

This is my third Judd Apatow movie, having caught Knocked Up at the cinema and recently reviewed Walk Hard. Based on those experiences I’m struggling to see why he is being heralded as the saviour of comedy. His movies have given me my fair share of chortles and titters but with each article I read or show I watch about what a great comedic visionary he is, I have to ask myself a question. Will we look back on movies like Superbad in ten or twenty years as an example of classic comedy or as a bunch of dick gags stitched together by people who wanted to have a laugh together and make a movie at the same time? I think the latter.

 Superbad

Video


Superbad is presented in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) and I’m sure it’ll be no surprise that the quality of the transfer is pretty much flawless. The movie is very colourful, especially the retro opening sequence with scratches and dirt added for effect. The detail in the picture is impressive as well and this is another disc where close-up shots highlight the difference between standard and high definition. The only problem I had was that this isn’t really a movie that is enhanced by more detail in the picture so while the visual experience is impressive, it certainly doesn’t make the gags any funnier or the characters any more likeable.

Audio


While the detail in the picture is enjoyable for the eyes, the ears aren’t quite as well rewarded. The TrueHD 5.1 track does justice to the music that is a lot funkier than the usual brand of guitar bands that play on the soundtrack of teen comedies. The dialogue is clear and pitched at the right level but I was left predictably underwhelmed by a comedy that has no bombastic action sequences or purposely clever use of directional sound. Not that there’s anything to complain about on the soundtrack of course, it’s just that you should consider many other recent releases if you want to show off your surround system.

 Superbad

Extras


Top of the pile is the commentary featuring all the main players of the cast and crew including Judd Apatow, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen and director Greg Mottola. It’s a crowded affair and while those looking for technical detail may be left wanting, the banter and anecdotes make this one of the more enjoyable commentaries I’ve listened to recently. The Blu-ray exclusive feature is the Supermeter, which keeps score of the number of different types of language used in the movie. It’s amusing for a while but is probably only of practical use as a drinking game.

There are six deleted and extended scenes available that show the improvisation that is common in Apatow’s productions. They’re worth a watch but would have made an already overly long movie even longer. ‘The Semen Conversation’ exists between the extended scenes and the gag reel as an extended version of Seth Rogen’s monologue about semen along with some screw-ups of his lines. Read filler here. The gag reel is another five minutes of the cast forgetting their lines and messing around on set. ‘Line-o-rama’, which was also a feature on Walk Hard, is more examples of unused improvised lines. In addition to trailers for recent Blu-ray releases, there are plenty of other extra features available on a second disc that we didn’t get.

 Superbad

Overall


Superbad made me laugh from time to time. It’ll probably make teenage boys laugh more, most of all the under-fifteens who aren’t old enough to watch the movie (according to the BBFC). That’s the best way I can sum up a movie that I thought was over-hyped on its release and overrated now I’ve seen it. The transfer is impressive and the extras complement the movie, with the commentary possibly more entertaining than the movie itself, for this reviewer at least.

* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.


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