It may be impossible to review Superbad without being offensive. Mum, stop reading. Seriously: this film is not for you. It is lewd, crude and other words that rhyme with rude. Not since South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut – and possibly the Total Film Christmas party – has an ensemble taken such glee in such filth. Or a movie included so many, well, cocks. The penis-sketching sequence remains a ‘can’t believe they did that’ moment of prostate-tightening hilarity. There’s been plenty of critical harrumphing about the groin-centric gags, even misplaced accusations of misogyny, but Superbad’s heart is definitely in the right place. And no, to paraphrase Jonah Hill’s potty-mouthed hero – faced with leaving for college without best friend Michael Cera – the ‘right place’ is not the end of his cock.
Some were confused at the title’s ’70s connection – which ostensibly goes no further than Hill’s Johnny Cash shirt – and labelled the latest Judd Apatow production an American Pie knock-off. But while it has one foot in teensploitation for sure – albeit more Porky’s than Pie’s photogenic, sex-drenched youngsters – it has the other firmly planted in something like life: American Graffiti, Dazed And Confused, even The Last Picture Show. That claim is not as insane as it seems, when you consider both Show and Superbad are essentially about the reluctance to grow up and part ways. Apatow has name-checked John Cassavetes as inspiration for his style and the sense of truth is there; though Faces doesn’t have quite so many knob jokes. The extras reveal an improv-heavy shoot familiar from the Knocked Up extras, but the extended cut available on the double-disc addition adds only one worthwhile beat, explaining why Emma Stone is so tolerant of her smutty suitor Hill. Everyone Hates Michael Cera – a self-referential featurette – is a one-watch laugh, making the single-disc version the better purchase. Its just-right theatrical cut comes with a raucous commentary, which Apatow sulks out of (faking or not faking, it’s unclear) when Hill won’t stop swearing in front of his daughter. Superbad, indeed.