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Just One Word: McLovin

If the words, "teen", "sex", and "comedy" in the same sentence make you wince, then Superbad, a teen sex comedy produced by writer/director Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin, "Freaks and Geeks") and written by Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, "Freaks and Geeks") and Evan Goldberg isnít for you. The film promises to deliver the kind of raunchy, vulgar, sex-obsessed comedy that trace their origins back to Porky's twenty-five years ago and, jumping ahead, to American Pie.

Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have all but checked out of high school. Weeks away from graduation, their friendship is about to be tested when Evan goes off to Dartmouth leaving Seth to attend the state university. Putting aside their separation anxiety, Seth and Evan focus on the two most important activities for high-school males: getting drunk and, hopefully, getting laid.

However, Seth and Evan arenít exactly popular. Seth has a huge, unrequited crush on the out-of-his-league Jules (Emma Stone) and Evan canít bring himself to ask ďnice girlĒ Becca (Martha MacIsaac) out on a date, despite every sign that she wants more than just a casual friendship.

Seth and Evanís luck seems to take a turn for the better when Jules invites them to a bash at her house. Promising to bring alcohol, Seth relies on fellow senior, Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), with a newly minted fake ID. Fogell may be one of the smarter kids, but, like Seth and Jonah, heís as socially awkward and clueless as they come. With Fogellís fake ID and fake name (McLovin), the three boys head to a local liquor store. Fogell goes in alone, and before long, Fogell is being questioned for assault by two cops, Slater (Bill Hader) and Officer Michaels (Seth Rogen), and Seth and Evan, now short on cash, are forced to find alcohol elsewhere and bring it to Jules' party before it ends.

Not surprisingly, Superbad follows the conventions of teen sex comedies closely. Socially inept, horny males eager to get laid, usually for the first time, are forced by circumstances into getting what they need in order to get what they want. Along the way, they usually pick up a life lesson or two about the meaning of friendship, learn something about the female gender, and usually, but not always, get the hot, unattainable girls of their fantasies.

Superbad, though, is really two stories in one. The first one follows Seth and Evan with the second one following McLovin and his misadventures with two of the most unprofessional cops ever put on film. Itís this second storyline that, on its own, provides Superbad with some of the funniest gags and jokes.

Thatís not to say the other actors donít match up with Mintz-Plasse, Rogen, or Hader. All show solid comic timing. Hill is stuck in the libido-in-overdrive type of character that, long ago, John Belushi made famous on "Saturday Night Live" and Animal House while Sera gets the usually thankless role of the straight-laced man to Hillís wild man. Sera ("Arrested Development") is cast perfectly with the wide-eyed, sputtering, and nervous energy that perfectly conveys the awkwardness of the high school geek stumbling headlong into the complexities of adulthood.

Ultimately, Superbad has plenty of raunch, vulgarity, and profanity for moviegoers into that sort of thing, but it could have used some judicious trimming, especially during the wrap up that goes on for ten minutes too long after the main characters have learned their life-lessons. Whatever can be said about Superbad, moviegoers should keep their expectations in check (Superbad is no Harold and Kumar go to White Castle for instance) and kick back and enjoy a (possible) cult hit in the making..

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars