So apparently from just about everything I read on the internets writer/producer/director Judd Apatow is the new king of cinema comedy. Apatow, whose credits include the cult TV series Freaks And Geeks, the 2005 hit THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, and KNOCKED UP which was an early summer smash, now has another #1 movie - SUPERBAD (reviewed below). But wait a minute – he didn’t direct SUPERBAD. As this amusing New York Magazine blogpost tells us Greg Mattola did – Apatow was the producer. So why does it seem so much like Apatow was the director? Well, interviews with the cast members who pretty much were all in KNOCKED UP talk about taking notes from Apatow as much or more than they do Mattola and the film has more than one critic considering it part of Apatow’s series of immature-male-moves-forward-movies. Makes some sorta sense for this mass confusion I guess.
So on to the movie itself :
SUPERBAD (Dir. Greg Mattola, 2007) If you’ve heard anything about this movie you know the drill – we spend the day with a few foul mouthed teenagers trying to get laid. Yep - it’s like a zillion 80’s sex comedies as well as a homage to them at the same time. Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg wrote the semi-autobiographical screenplay when they were teenagers but got too old to play the parts themselves. So now we’ve got Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) filling in and a great pair they are. Their kind of chemistry can’t be faked and when joined by Fogle (more referred to as McLovin because that’s his name on his fake ID) played by Christopher Mint Plasse, a lot of hilarious riffing flies through the air. McLovin has his own sideline adventure when he bemusedly befriends a couple of inept cops played by Rogen (he had to put himself in the movie somehow) and Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader. That bit, while it contains some big laughs, feels more like a comic convention than say, some of the other true to life sloppy shenanigans on display. Much better than your average teen flick these days (and better than anything Kevin Smith has done in ages) SUPERBAD isn’t for those who dislike lots of profanity and dick jokes but just about everybody else will find it really funny.
And Now A Recent Release DVD :
THE LOOKOUT (Dir. Scott Frank, 2007) After a prom-night joyride turns deadly, survivor Joseph Gordon-Levitt lives a quiet life with a blind mentor room-mate (Jeff Daniels) spending most of his time dealing with his guilt and trying to get his sequencing in order. You see - his mind still hasn't recovered from the accident and he has to constantly take notes to remind himself of the order of his day's events. He's not as extreme a case as the guy from MEMENTO but far from fully functional. Gordon-Levitt works as a night-shift janitor in a small bank and is being targeted to be an unwilling participant in a bank heist by a gang of pure movie thugs led by Matthew Goode. This is where the conventions of Gordon-Levitt's condition are exposed as just another piece in the contrived plot puzzle. It seems to take place in a world with only a handful of characters including a friendly bumbling cop who brings Gordon-Levitt doughnuts and whose fate we can see coming way in advance. Also annoying is the thunderous rumbling sound that’s dubbed onto just about every scene. You know, the sound from so many thriller trailers – usually paired with quick cuts to underscore tension and jar us. It’s a suspense string pulling manipulation – CUT IT OUT! Despite the good acting and some solid direction throughout (the sequencing is in perfect order) it's unfortunate that a routine heist plot is the order of the day. Gordon-Levitt is good though - he proves that like his intense turn in BRICK that he can handle weighty material. With hope next time around he'll get something weightier than this.