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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Just an out of date plug for the best teen comedy of all time:

Most teen comedies are constructed so as to make us feel nostalgic for the teen years we never in fact had: full of nonstop laughs, endless partying, exciting adventures, witty friends, and plenty of sex -- with the appropriate upbeat mood music in the background. (Think Porky's, or the American Pie series.) Many of the actors in those movies, especially the females, look like models.

Superbad was all about not having the slick comebacks, not being popular, not being able to beat up the bully, and not getting laid. And the characters looked like people you actually knew in high school.

It's this realism that makes it so funny. McLovin, the personification of teenage awkwardness, may be the funniest character ever.

The only false note in the movie was the injection of those two SNL-style wild and crazy cops who let McLovin shoot their guns, help wreck their car, etc. They're part of the plot, which gradually moves toward making McLovin a hero in the eyes of his classmates. But this denouement could have come about without those ridiculous scenes.

Judd Apatow's other films have been good, but not as good. His biggest strength is his ability to show people acting pathetically. But as he graduated from high school comedies, Apatow's characters became more successful and thus harder to identify with. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the protagonist, a successful music writer, loses his good-looking girlfriend, an actress, to a rock star. He then runs into them at an expensive resort in Hawaii, where he befriends the rock star, romances the gorgeous hotel receptionist, and is once again pursued by his ex-girlfriend, whom he then gets to reject.

Gee, that really resonates with me.

Knocked Up was a little better, even if the main romantic interest, played by Katherine Heigl, was a successful TV personality.

Superbad, on the other hand, deserves every bit of the cult following it has attracted.

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