This movie, in a way that few others seem to do, does an excellent job at capturing the feeling of both being in, and preparing to leave, high school. Superbad captures the combined exhilaration and anxiety of leaving high school through its two main characters. Seth, played by Jonah Hill, can’t wait to get out of high school and try his hand at college life. Evan, played by Michael Cera, is more tentative about both Seth’s plans for the party and the coming future. These characters are written with such accuracy and realism, feeling just like high schoolers struggling with moving on, that it makes me wonder how close these portrayals are to the lives of the writers themselves (as the characters seem to be named after them).
Along with being a pretty accurate portrayal of the world the film inhabits, Superbad also manages to have excellently funny performances all around. Cera and Hill have an amazing chemistry as Evan and Seth, with Cera’s awkwardness and Hill’s brash speech. Seth Rogen and Bill Hader play police officers who end up with Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Fogell, and the three of them have an excellent dynamic as well. Martha MacIssac and Emma Stone also have great performances as Becca and Jules, with an especially hilarious scene happening between Cera and MacIssac that involves quite a lot of alcohol. Overall, Superbad is a great example of raunchy comedy done right, combining the brash humor with wit and character that makes the film shine.
This is the End
What makes This is the End so clever and interesting is the way it creates its characters, having actors essentially play parodies of themselves and working from there. Every actor in the film plays themselves during the apocalyptic events, which leads to some great moments between actors. The movie escalates stereotypes about certain actors, like James Franco’s eccentricity, which makes for fun parody comedy. It is odd to see a movie that is almost entirely self-parody, which helps keep This is the End from feeling like every other parody on the market. Chemistry between characters is also helped by having characters play themselves, especially when it comes to the relationship between Rogen and Baruchel, who actually were good friends pre-fame.
The great and satirical interpretations of these actors/characters creates excellent comedy, especially through some of the cameos that happen before the apocalypse. Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Craig T. Robinson all do a great job as the six main survivors, but my favorite performance comes from Michael Cera. Before the apocalypse occurs, Cera plays a completely wasted and insane version of himself, which had me in stitches the few times he was mentioned or seen on screen. The other celebrity cameos, like those from Emma Watson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari are fun as well, emphasizing the stereotypes of each. In the end (pun intended), the movie is another hilarious outing by Goldberg and Rogen.
Last week examined Ensemble Superhero Movies in preparation for Suicide Squad.