Superbad is a 2007 American teen comedy film directed by Greg Mottola and starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. The film was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who began working on the script when they were both 13 years old; they completed a draft by the time they were 15. The film's main characters have the same given names as Rogen and Goldberg. It was also one of a string of hit films produced by Judd Apatow.
Seth and Evan are two high school seniors who lament their virginity and poor social standing. Best friends since childhood, the two are about to go off to different colleges, as Seth didn't get accepted into Dartmouth like Evan. After Seth is paired with Jules during Home-Ec class, she invites him to a party at her house later that night. Later, Fogell comes up to the two and reveals his plans to obtain a fake ID during lunch. Seth uses this to his advantage and promises to bring alcohol to Jules' party. Fogell's fake ID is met with derision by Seth and Evan, as it states that Fogell's name is simply "McLovin". After contemplating their options, Seth decides they have no choice but to have Fogell buy the alcohol with his fake ID. Fogell goes in and successfully buys the alcohol, but is interrupted when a robber enters the store, punches him in the face, and takes money from the cash register.
When police officers Slater and Michaels arrive to investigate the robbery, Seth and Evan believe that Fogell has been busted for the fake ID. Inside the store, Slater and Michaels are apparently fooled by Fogell's ID and give him a ride to the party. While arguing over what to do, Seth is hit by a car being driven by Francis, who promises to take them to a party he is attending in exchange for them not telling the police. During Fogell's time with the police, they exhibit very irresponsible behavior such as drinking on the job, shooting their firearms at a stop sign, and improper use of their sirens to run red lights. All the while, the three develop a strong friendship. When Seth and Evan arrive at the party, they quickly discover that Francis is not welcome there. Francis is brutally beaten by Mark, the party host, while Seth fills detergent bottles from the basement with alcohol he finds in the fridge.
After running away from the party, Evan and Seth begin to argue, with Seth angrily asking why Evan is going to Dartmouth when he knew Seth wouldn't get accepted. Evan angrily responds that Seth has been holding him back for years and he doesn't want to miss out because of him. During the argument, Evan pushes Seth in front of the police cruiser driven by Slater and Michaels. Afraid of losing their jobs, the cops decide to frame Seth and Evan by arresting them, but when Fogell comes out of the car, Evan makes a run for it, and Seth and Fogell escape with the alcohol. While on a bus, a drifter attempts to steal the Goldslick vodka that Becca wanted, causing it to fall out of Evan's hand and smash on the floor, after which the trio is kicked off. They run to the party, but on the way, Fogell accidentally clues Seth in on his plans to room with Evan the next year. Hurt, Seth takes the alcohol into the party by himself. At the party, Seth becomes popular and Evan tries to connect with Becca, but she is drunk.
Becca drags Evan upstairs to have sex with him, but he declines and leaves after she vomits next to him on the bed. Meanwhile, Fogell impresses Nicola and goes to have sex with her upstairs as well. Seth drunkenly attempts to kiss Jules, but she turns him down because neither does she drink or want to do anything with Seth while he's drunk. Seth then confesses to Jules his plan to hook up with her while they were both intoxicated and become her boyfriend over the summer before they both departed for college and that he has effectively ruined any chance of that happening. Jules tries to reassure him that he hasn't ruined his chance with her, but before she can continue, Seth passes out and accidentally headbutts her, leaving her with a bruised eye. Slater and Michaels bust the party and Seth saves an intoxicated Evan by carrying him out. Fogell's lovemaking lasts only a second, before he is interrupted by Slater, who scares Nicola away. Michaels calms down Slater, who is angry at Fogell for ditching them.
After they apologize for "cock-blocking" him, they reconcile and reveal they knew Fogell wasn't 25 the whole time; they had played along, wanting to prove cops can have a good time too. To make it up to Fogell, they pretend to arrest him to boost his popularity, then proceed to drive recklessly and destroy their car with Molotov cocktails while Fogell shoots it. At Evan's house, Seth and Evan patch things up and declare their friendship for each other. The next morning, they go to the mall to buy stuff for college, where they meet Jules and Becca, and they all reconcile. Seth takes Jules to buy cover up for her bruise, while Evan makes arrangements to go on a date with Becca.
The film was written by Goldberg and Rogen during their teen years. It is loosely based on their own experience as seniors in Vancouver in the late 1990s, hence the character names Seth and Evan. According to an interview at an event panel in 2009 Fogell was also a real friend of Rogen and Goldberg. Rogen was initially slated to play Hill's character Seth, but due to his physical size and age, he played one of the police officers. The film took over seven years to complete from early scripting in 2000 and filming in 2006/2007. Mintz-Plasse was only 17 at the time of filming Superbad, and as a result, his mother was required to be present on set during his sex scene.
Taking place in-film in the Clark County/Las Vegas area, the film was primarily shot in Los Angeles.
The high school is actually the exterior of El Segundo High School. The mall scenes were shot at the old Fox Hills Mall (which is now the Westfield Mall) in Culver City, California.
Other notable filming locations include the convenience store at the beginning of the film, also in Culver City, the liquor store where "McLovin" gets IDed in Glendale, California, and the bar where the cops take McLovin for a drink is neighboring Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Superbad opened at number one at the United States box office, grossing $33,052,411 in its weekend from 2,948 theaters for an average of $11,212 per theater. The film stayed at #1 the second week, grossing $18,044,369.
The film grossed $121.5 million in the United States and Canada and $48.4 million in other countries, for a total of $169.9 million worldwide. Compared to the budget of $20 million, the film earned a huge financial profit, making it the highest domestic grossing high school comedy at the time (it was surpassed by 21 Jump Street, a film also starring Hill, in 2012).
Superbad received critical acclaim. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 88% approval rating with an average rating of 7.5/10 based on 203 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 76/100 based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally positive reviews".
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle called it 2007's most successful comedy. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times had the headline of his review read "McLovin It," and gave the film 31â2 stars (out of 4) and said "The movie reminded me a little of National Lampoon's Animal House, except that it's more mature, as all movies are." Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times said "Physically, Hill and Cera recall the classic comic duos â" Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Aykroyd and Belushi. But they are contemporary kids, sophisticated and sensitive to nuance"; she added, "I hope it's not damning the movie with the wrong kind of praise to say that for a film so deliriously smutty, Superbad is supercute". Sean Burns of Philadelphia Weekly said "2007: the year Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen saved movie comedy", a reference to Knocked Up which was released in June. Devin Gordon of Newsweek said "As a Revenge of the Nerds redux, Superbad isn't perfect. But it's super close."
In a more critical vein, Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter, compared the film to other films with a single-day structure, such as American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused, but said that Superbad "doesn't have the smarts or the depths of those ensemble comedies". The Hollywood Reporter review was referenced in the film's DVD audio commentary, particularly the review's suggestion that the two main characters have a homoerotic experience similar to the film Y Tu MamÃ¡ TambiÃ©n. Adam Graham of The Detroit News said, "the cops belong in a bad Police Academy sequel, not this movie", and also that the film "falls short of teen-classic status." Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel called the film "super-derivative", "super-raunchy", and "Freaks and Geeks: Uncensored". Moore went on to say the film shamelessly plagiarizes from films such as Can't Hardly Wait and American Graffiti. He also said, "Like Knocked Up, this is a comedy they don't know how to end. The energy flags as it overstays its welcome." Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe said the film "has a degree more sophistication than Revenge of the Nerds and American Pie, and less than the underrated House Party". Morris also said, "the few smart observations could have come from an episode of one of Apatow's TV shows" and "I wanted to find this as funny as audiences did".
- Canadian Comedy Awards 2008 - Seth Rogen - Best Writing. Rogen could not attend the awards ceremony but recorded a special thank you message.
- Canadian Comedy Awards 2008 - Michael Cera - Best Male Performance
- Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 2007 - Michael Cera - Most Promising Performer
- Austin Film Critics Association Awards 2007 - Michael Cera - Breakthrough Artist Award
- Young Hollywood Awards 2008 - Emma Stone - Exciting New Face
- 2008 MTV Movie Awards - Best Movie
- 2008 MTV Movie Awards - Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse - Breakthrough
- 2008 Peabody Award - Best New Comedy Performance
- 2008 MTV Movie Awards - Jonah Hill - Best Comedic Performance
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 2007 - Best Comedy Movie
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 2007 - Michael Cera - Best Young Actor
- Empire Awards 2007 - Best Comedy
- Teen Choice Awards 2007 - Choice Summer Movie - Comedy/Musical
Superbad was released via DVD and Blu-ray on December 4, 2007 in two versions: theatrical (113 minutes) and unrated (118 minutes). Special features include deleted scenes, an audio commentary on the unrated version with cast and crew, line-o-ramas (a feature most associated with Apatow films), a making-of, and a number of featurettes.
Two tie-in books to the film were published by Newmarket Press:
- Superbad: The Illustrated Moviebook was published on December 4, 2007 to coincide with the release of the film on DVD. This official companion book includes an introduction by producer Judd Apatow; the complete script by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg; commentaries by Apatow, Rogen and Goldberg, and journalists from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Entertainment Weekly; 56 film stills; "Mr. Vagtastic Guide to Buying Porn;" and 24 "phallographic" drawings by David Goldberg that viewers will recognize from the film's end credits.
- Superbad: The Drawings was published on February 14, 2008. This gift hardcover art book contains 82 "phallographic" drawings created by David Goldberg (Evan Goldberg's brother) for the film.
- Official website
- Superbad at the Internet Movie Database
- Superbad at the TCM Movie Database
- Superbad at Box Office Mojo
- Superbad at Rotten Tomatoes
- Superbad at Metacritic