As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Superbad

Posted by Hedwig on January 15, 2008

I’m sorry. I mean, I tried. I tried with the 40 year-old Virgin. I tried even harder with Knocked up. And now I tried with Superbad, and I can’t escape the inevitable conclusion any longer. I’m sorry. I just can’t get on the Judd Apatow bandwagon.

It’s not that I don’t like his films. I like ’em plenty. It’s not that they don’t make me laugh, Superbad in particular has great moments, the penis drawing scene, of course, but also small details like the cops yelling “shit! the cops!”. But they don’t inspire me to write raves. In fact, I found out looking back that Knocked Up didn’t inspire me to write anything, at all, and I don’t really have anything to say about Superbad either. Sure, it’s sweet underneath the profanity, and it’s quite admirable how Apatow doesn’t look down on the two main characters while making fun of them. But the girls are just as flat (metaphorically, of course, literally they’re pretty curvy) and poorly motivated as in the other movies. And I don’t think you can call teen horniness a revelation.

Ultimately, I don’t think his movies have much staying power. Well, not quite: they’ve obviously shown to have staying power, they just don’t stay with me, and I have no need or desire to see them again. The only exception? Anchorman. I saw it for the third time around new years, and the sheer absurdity of it keeps growing on me.

I do have a slight crush on Seth Rogen, I still have to figure out how that works, exactly. Anyhow, bring on the McHatin’!

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10 Responses to “Superbad”

  1. Chuck said

    I’ve enjoyed all of Apatow’s films, but I understand where you’re coming from here. My biggest problem is that all the films, when boiled down, are exactly the same. I’ve said this before somewhere else, but I’ll say it again, all Apatow or Apatow produced movies are this: Act 1-approachably gross and male-centric, Act 2-not quite as approachably gross and male-centric, Act 3-chick flick as way of apology for thankless female roles but with just enough male-centric humor for the guys.

    Apatow is Nora Ephron for the 20 something white male, and just as formulaic (though considerably better.)

    And he’s still, to a certain extent, playing to lower denominators, and he’s never come anywhere near the work of Freaks and Geeks, something I still love unconditionally. Time for the guy to shake it up.

  2. sarcastig said

    I’m glad I’m not the only one! Your analysis is pretty spot on. I don’t mind that he goes to ‘unapproachable’ areas with the humor, or even the grossness. What I do mind is that he tries to have his cake and eat it, too, by ALSO having a saccharine ending. Not to mention it makes his films overlong: a comedy should be 1 hour 40 minutes, tops (unless it’s about the Dude). I guess that’s why I don’t mind Anchorman so much: it’s all out juvenile, and doesn’t outstay its welcome.

  3. Kaj said

    So you liked Anchorman, but not Talladega Nights?

  4. I’m learning that, for me, Apatow is like eating candy. I enjoy it while it lasts, but the effect quickly fades and sooner or later I just feel empty inside. Modern movie comedies usually just piss me off and Apatow neatly manages to avoid that, but… I don’t know.

    Superbad was fine…it was sporadically funny and otherwise harmless, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed.

    But then I’m known far and wide for actually hating some of the most popular comedies of my time…There’s Something About Mary and American Pie instantly spring to mind.

    Did you see there Hedwig how I attempted to deflect the McHatin from you onto me? Bring it!

  5. sarcastig said

    @Kaj: I haven’t seen Talladega nights, so I can’t really comment on that one. It seems in the Anchorman mode… but with more homophobic jokes.

    @Craig: we’re building a team, here, we can withstand any McHatin’ coming now 😉 It’s true that compared to something like The Heartbreak Kid, Apatow makes masterpieces, but I think that says more about the current state of comedy than about Apatow’s movies. I never understood the appeal of There’s Something About Mary either, and while I don’t hate American Pie as you seem to, it’s not my idea of a great comedy.

    Not that there aren’t any dumb comedies I like. I’ve only seen “Dude, where’s my car?” once, but I thought it was hilarious at the time, and “10 things I hate about you” remains a guilty pleasure of mine.

    Ms. Perky: Says here you exposed yourself in the cafeteria?
    Patrick: I was joking with the lunch lady. It was a bratwurst.
    Ms. Perky: Bratwurst? Aren’t we the optimist?

  6. Kaj said

    Homophobic? Oh, Sacha Baron Cohen… but he’s so outrageously ridiculous that his performance transcends stereotypes and homophobia. And his sexuality is only a small part of his completely weird character. I prefer Talladega to Anchorman (at least, the Unrated version of Talladega), but I’m firmly seated on the Apatow bandwagon.

    I do also hate American Pie with a passion, though.

  7. Chuck said

    I actually think that Anchorman and Talladega Nights will probably age better than anything else Apatow, and that’s because they have a gleeful, crazed, banal surreality that’s unlike anything in modern American comedy (as Craig said, not much competition.)

    I wrote very positive reviews of Knocked Up and Superbad at the time, and I do, more or less, stand by those reviews, but, again as Craig said, those films are like candy and Hedwig is right on in that they try to have their cake and eat it too. The Adam Mckay/Will Ferrell films don’t seem as eager to please to me.

    I’m not sure why I dig Talladga Nights so much, no one joke is particularly funny, it’s some sort of overall effect. I didn’t find it homophobic either, it’s a spoof of that.

  8. Nick Plowman said

    I agree with you, I too could not write much when it came to my Superbad review over on my blog, and I am a member of its main target audience! His films are very funny, filled with profanity, but at the same time, they manage to come across as good hearted and genuine. That is not to say they are great pieces of comedic cinema. I was on the Apatow bandwagon, but got off fearing it would crash and burn soon. How much longer can he make films like Superbad, Knocked Up and the 40-Year-Old Virgin? I am not sure, but I am not sure I can sit through another film of his, seen one, seen them all.

  9. sarcastig said

    I guess I’ll have to check out Talledega Nights!

  10. cjKennedy said

    My beef with American Pie and Something About Mary, both of which had their really funny moments, is that I hate the genre to which they belong I call The Comedy of Humiliation. Seeing people made fools of or publicly embarrassed just makes me uncomfortable and feel sad. I know this probably makes me a wuss, but there you go.

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