- Street Date:
- December 4th, 2007
- Reviewed by:
- Joshua Zyber
- Review Date: 1
- December 3rd, 2007
- Movie Release Year:
- Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- 118 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
If the publicity materials are to be believed, Seth Rogen and his pal Evan Goldberg wrote the first draft of 'Superbad' when they were 13 years old. Yeah, that sounds about right. Written about the pair's high school experiences, the project percolated for another decade as Rogen's acting profile rose in various Judd Apatow productions such as 'Freaks and Geeks', 'Undeclared', 'The 40 Year-Old Virgin', and recently his breakout starring role in 'Knocked Up'. Backed by Apatow as producer, the script was revived, polished off, and handed to Greg Mottola ('The Daytrippers') to direct, but the resulting film still feels very much like it spawned directly out of the minds of a couple of horny teenagers.
Michael Cera ('Arrested Development') and Jonah Hill ('Accepted') star as Evan and Seth, a pair of graduating seniors desperate to lose their virginity before going off to college. As Seth explains it, they need to build up at least a few months of experience in the practice so that they can walk into college knowing what they're doing. The problem is that Evan is kind of geeky and Seth is a crass jackass who can't speak a sentence without swearing profusely and turning the conversation into a lewd sexual innuendo. Perhaps their best shot at meeting this goal is to attend a party at which there will be many drunken girls, but only if Seth lives up to his promise of supplying the alcohol. To do that, the boys need the help of dorky Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has proudly obtained a fake ID baring the improbable pseudonym "McLovin." No first name, mind you, just McLovin.
Naturally, their plans go disastrously wrong in all sorts of ways. After a series of absurd events, a pair of bumbling cops played by Rogen and Bill Hader pick up McLovin at the liquor store. But they don't want to arrest him; they just want to hang out with this allegedly 25 year-old Hawaiian dude and take him on a very crazy ride-along. That leaves Evan and Seth to their own devices to procure the booze, a mission that leads them on a wild trip though the seedier parts of town and in the company of people they'd rather not keep.
Long story short, the movie is damn funny. Cera and Hill have great comedic chemistry. Even though the Seth character is a self-centered jerk who says and does a lot of just plain hateful things, Hill manages to make him charming and even likeable in his own crude way. In the vein of R-rated teen comedies of the '80s ('Meatballs' and 'Porky's' are obvious influences), as well more recent revivals like the 'American Pie' franchise, the picture is overloaded with exceedingly lowbrow humor, mostly focused on drinking and sex. In structure, it's a pretty basic coming-of-age story and nothing that really reinvents the genre, but the movie has appealing characters, a fun '70s vibe in the music and fashions ('Dazed and Confused' seems to be another touchstone), and some hilarious, batshit crazy escapades involving angry coke fiends, drunken winos, graphic penis artwork, and icky bodily fluids (and not just the obvious ones).
Writing as an adult, I personally prefer the Apatow-directed '40 Year-Old Virgin' and 'Knocked Up', which mix their tales of delayed adolescence and raunchy sex humor with greater emotional resonance. That isn't really the goal here. 'Superbad' is just about a trio of high school losers trying to get laid and failing miserably at the attempt. There's no particular message or meaning behind that. Don't get me wrong, the movie is funny as hell, even if it wasn't my favorite entry from the talented troupe Apatow has assembled.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Superbad' comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in a 2-Disc Unrated Extended Edition that adds a few minutes of extra foul language to the already bawdy theatrical release. The disc contents are nearly identical to the comparable 2-disc DVD set. The first disc starts with a forced trailer before the menu that's extremely annoying but fortunately can be skipped. When you get to it, the main menu is loaded with content inappropriate for children.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Shot on digital video at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 'Superbad' has very bright, sharp, and vividly colorful photography that translates extremely well to High Definition in this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer. The '70s-style opening credits have some artificial scratches and dirt added for effect, but after the movie proper starts, the image is essentially flawless and almost totally grain-free. Colors and contrast range both look great, and the picture has a nice sense of depth. If I have any complaint, it's that although the video seems to have satisfying sharpness with no visible edge enhancement or other artifacts, it also has something of a plastic appearance, without much fine object detail. That's probably a consequence of the digital video photography rather than the disc transfer, however. In any case, the movie delivers some impressive High Definition imagery.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The disc sounds pretty good, too. The movie's soundtrack is offered in either lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 or uncompressed PCM 5.1 formats. The player used for this review can't decode the TrueHD, so I went with the PCM track (there shouldn't be any quality difference between the two formats, regardless). Despite the funky '70s flavor in the musical score, everything about the sound mix meets modern standards for excellent fidelity. Dialogue is always crisp and clear, and the score has terrific breadth and range in the front soundstage.
As is typical for comedies, there isn't very much surround usage in the mix, nor is there any particularly deep, room-shaking bass, though the music has a nice thumping beat at times. The few gunshots fired come through with a satisfying crack. 'Superbad' may not be flashy enough to use as a show-off demo piece, but it sounds pretty darn good.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
All of the bonus features from the comparable 2-Disc Unrated Extended Edition DVD made the transition to Blu-ray, most of which are presented in High Definition here. The content is almost entirely focused on the cast and crew goofing around, with little mention of anything to do with how the movie was actually made. Much of it is pretty entertaining, if not very informative or insightful.
- Commentary with Filmmakers and Cast – Producer Judd Apatow, director Greg Mottola, screenwriter Evan Goldberg, and stars Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse spend the entire commentary joking around and teasing one another in this group party track. It's a very entertaining listen, at times almost as hilarious as the movie itself, though Apatow leaves after 45 minutes, feigning an argument with the rest of the participants and pretending to storm out. Topics of discussion include the importance of getting the right "dick-to-heart ratio," obtaining legal clearance for all of the penis sketches in the movie, and the differences between shooting on film and shooting on video. But really, it's mostly just about these guys making fun of one another for a couple hours.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes (10 min., HD) – The six scenes offered are all pretty funny, even if they didn't need to be in the final cut. Most of them are clearly improvised.
- The Semen Conversation (3 min., HD) – An extended version of Rogen's riff about a "world covered in jizz," including some flubs.
- Pineapple Express: Exclusive First Look (5 min., HD) – A scene excerpt from Rogen's upcoming stoner comedy. To be honest, the clip isn't all that funny.
- Line-o-Rama (4 min., HD) – Numerous variations of certain improvised lines.
- Gag Reels (5 min., HD) – The usual falling down, cracking up, and flubbed lines.
- Cop Car Confessions (34 min., HD/SD) – A spoof mixing 'Taxicab Confessions' with 'Cops', this series of 13 short sketches allow comedians such as Jane Lynch, Kristen Wiig, and Nick Swardson to improv silly comedy bits in the back seat of a cop car while interacting with Rogen and Hader. It runs on a bit too long, and a lot of the pieces are too similar to one another, but there are a few really funny moments here. If the sight of Chris Kattan in a furry squirrel costume isn't surreal enough for you, wait until the part where Justin Long appears to be lip-syncing dialogue from Matthew McConaughey (if that's just an impersonation, why don't his lips always match?). The video alternates from High Definition 16:9 (really lousy quality, unfortunately) to Standard-Def 4:3 between camera angles.
- The Making of Superbad (13 min., HD) – Just about the only feature in the entire supplemental package that talks at all about what it was like to make the movie, here we get some discussion of the origins of the screenplay, the hiring of Greg Mottola to direct, and the process of casting the leads.
- The Vag-Tastic Voyage (1 min., HD) – The weird porno spoof seen briefly in the movie is here shown in its entirety.
- The Original Table Read 2002 (5 min., SD) – Rogen and Jason Segel (his 'Freaks and Geeks' costar, currently in 'How I Met Your Mother') read the parts of Seth and Evan for one scene.
- Table Read 2006 (23 min., HD) – Three scene read-throughs with the final cast. Their chemistry was already pretty funny.
- Auditions (13 min., HD) – Audition tapes for Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
- Michael's Voicemail from Jonah (3 min.) – Audio recordings of four rambling, Gary Busey-like messages from Hill to Cera during production. The tapes are more odd than amusing.
- Snakes on Jonah (5 min., HD) – The cast and crew pull a prank on the animal-phobic star.
- Dancing Title Sequence (3 min., HD) – Cera and Hill goof around in front of a green screen.
- TV Safe Lines (3 min., HD) – Alternate censored versions of several line readings contrasted against the originals, with much complaining from Hill about the need to shoot such a thing.
- Everyone Hates Michael Cera (7 min., HD) – More goofing around with the star.
- On Set Diaries (18 min., HD) – Footage of the cast and filmmakers on set.
- The Music of Superbad (13 min., HD) – A look at the recording of the funky score.
- Press Junket Meltdown (4 min., SD) – An obviously staged fake interview in which Hill goes ballistic on an argumentative reporter (played by 'Hot Fuzz' director Edgar Wright).
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Exclusive to the Blu-ray is just one feature.
- SuperMeter – When activated, an on-screen graphic keeps running score of the curse words, sexually explicit language, and utterances of the name "McLovin". It's halfway amusing for about 30 seconds, and then just seems pointless and lame. The instructions in the disc menus state that the Red and Blue buttons on the Blu-ray player remote are needed to turn the feature on and off, but at least on my player only the Red button seemed to do anything.
Thanks to reader Matt C for sending in this egg:
- Paul Rudd Auditions Stormy Daniels (6 min., HD) – On disc 2, highlight "Press Junket Meltdown" and press UP twice. Select the flying penis icon that appears in the upper right corner of the screen to watch a badly-staged prank involving Paul Rudd and porn star Stormy Daniels that plays like a sequel to the "My Dinner with Stormy" extra on the '40 Year-Old Virgin' disc.
'Superbad' is a very funny movie with plenty of repeat viewing potential. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great, and has a lot of bonus features, many of which are entertaining even if they don't offer too much substance. This is an easy recommendation.
- Two-Disc Set
- BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc (Feature)
- BD-25 Single-Layer Disc (Supplements)
- Region A
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English PCM 5.1 Surround
- English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround
- French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
- Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
- English Dolby 2.0 Stereo (Disc 2)
- English Subtitles
- English SDH Captions
- French Subtitles
- Spanish Subtitles
- Chinese Subtitles
- Korean Subtitles
- Portuguese Subtitles
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Gag Reels
- Audition Tapes
Exclusive HD Content
- SuperMeter Curse Word Counter
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