An obvious shoe-in for a frat and high school film legend, Super Bad plays on the emotions and humor of young people, but leaves many viewers wanting just a bit more in the way of plot flow and censure. Super Bad tells the story of three horny teenagers on the cusp of becoming college men. The three friends spend one of their last nights together before heading separate ways to college doing what else? Buying beer and getting laid.
The only problem for the three is that they are eternally geeky and simply not the kind of guy that high school girls, or college women, fall into bed with. The story line is familiar as we’ve seen it before in American Pie, but this time the getting-laid-or-else story is told with a bit of a conscious. The beer run has the ring of so many teenage movies before it including the cult classic Teen Wolf.
While the movie could easily have been set in the days of Animal House or other classic college films, the language and situations are decidedly modern. In short, the level of profanity and crudeness onscreen would not have passed censors a decade ago. Today however, crudely drawn phalluses and outlandish claims and jokes are standard fare for movies, and this one makes it a point to include as many as possible.
In the film, the typical funny, obnoxious fat kid and his thin, nerdy friend are looking for a bit of sexual experience before heading off to higher learning. They see the golden glimmer of opportunity when the hottest girl in school invites them to a party on the condition they bring the beer. They pick up another ultra-skinny, ultra-dweeby friend for the rest of the evening as they become involved in a liquor store robbery, wind up at other parties and handle a run-in with the cops.
The movie drags a bit in the middle as they boys attempt to get the beer and handle all the oddball situations that ensue. But finally they arrive at the party and here the plot finally develops. The main characters have plenty of nasty moments and surprises. The audience gets a few surprises as well.
The biggest surprise of all, however, as the movie begins to wind down, is the shocking amount of character development that comes from the full cast. The characters are totally believable in their roles, and as the boys struggle to process the events of the night, we get more than a glimpse into the conscious and feelings of what could very easily be real boys following up a night of crazy and sometimes inexcusable behavior. Even the girls in the movie play as real people – they aren’t the beautiful snobs of other movies, but are complex characters with real personalities and seemingly real stories to tell.
The characters, if not the bawdy jokes, occasionally dragging plot and ongoing gross-outs, make this movie one of the best from director Greg Mottola. If you can stand the language in the dialogue, this one a movie worthy of your time.