I just got back from seeing Superbad, starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. It is by far the funniest movie I’ve seen this year. Here’s the trailer:

The movie is directed by Greg Mottola and was written by Seth Rogen, who also appears in the film, and Evan Goldberg. As a lot of the advance press has noted, Rogen and Goldberg started writing the screenplay when they were 14. Rogen is perhaps most famous right now for starring in Knocked Up.

Superbad is very much a genre picture — three high school friends about to graduate conclude that the last party before summer is their perfect shot at losing their virginities and gaining sexual experience before going off to college. But it takes the genre in a whole new direction by easily being the most hilarious high-school-buddies-losing-their-virginities-movie ever made.

Hill, who had small roles in Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin, among other films, and Cera, who shined as George-Michael Bluth in “Arrested Development,” are great as the film’s two leading buddies. Hill is wonderful as the blundering idiot with a heart of gold, and Cera has the part of the awkward good guy who doesn’t just want sex with the girl of his dreams down pat — he wants to respect her too. But the film really belongs to Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who plays the nerdy pal who is getting a fake ID just in time to buy alcohol for the party. When the three guys show up at the liquor store, a wild ride ensues as they get separated, come back together, and get separated again. One gets befriended by the cops who should be arresting him; one ends up with menstrual blood on his pants after dirty dancing with a woman at a party; and one learns that he can run like the wind.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film when I saw it was what it does to the young straight men in the audience. In effect, this movie queered them. I was particularly struck by the reactions of one of the guys that sat in the row behind me — in part because I could hear them. There’s a scene in the film in which one of the characters has the opportunity to have sex but hesitates to do so because he doesn’t want to take advantage of the girl, who is completely wasted. The guy behind me couldn’t believe than any guy would hesitate in this situation — it clearly made him uncomfortable that the character was so awkward in this situation. Later, when the two male leads finally learn to communicate to each other how much they each love the other, the guy behind me was again vocally uncomfortable. But the best part was during the credits of the film, which feature drawings of penises (it relates back to a plot point in the movie). The same guy that was clearly uncomfortable with any depiction of hesitant heterosexuality or expressive homosociality started complaining that he couldn’t see the screen because most of the audience in front him had stood up. In essence, he was complaining because he couldn’t see explicit drawings of erect penises. How gay is that?!

This movie is smart, touching, and totally raunchy all at the same time. It’s right up there with my other favorite films of the year so far.

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