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Apatow’s latest is anything but “Superbad”

Cassie Belek | Friday, August 31, 2007

A 40-year-old virgin tries to get laid with the help of his friends. An unemployed schlub gets laid and gets a girl pregnant. Two seniors in high school attempt to buy beer so that they can get laid.

The last scenario is the synopsis for the recent summer comedy “Superbad,” and it’s the latest in a string of Judd Apatow projects featuring horny men, boys and manboys with giant hearts.

In “Superbad,” Apatow puts on his producer’s hat while Greg Motolla directs this R-rated teen flick starring Jonah Hill (“Accepted”) and Michael Cera (“Arrested Development”) as Seth and Evan, two best friends dealing with their approaching separation as they venture off to different colleges. The friends are joined by the nerdy Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who procures a fake I.D. (with the new moniker “McLovin”) so that the trio can buy beer for a graduation party and finally get some action.

Co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg started the script when they were just 13 years old, and the two main characters are named after the pair. The much-revised result of their teen labor is a hilarious raunch-fest that rivals even the Apatow-written and directed “Knocked Up” for the best comedy of the summer.

Rogen himself co-stars as one of two cops who befriend “McLovin” after a liquor store burglary prevents the boys from getting their beer for the party. Without Fogell’s fake I.D., Seth and Evan are left to find new and creative ways to get the booze, get to the party and get the girls.

Along the way viewers encounter a slew of cameos from actors spanning Apatow projects as far back as “Freaks and Geeks” all the way to the upcoming movie “The Pineapple Express.”

Apatow clearly takes care of his own, and the most notable cameos come from Martin Starr (Bill, “Freaks and Geeks”) and Carla Gallo (Lizzie, “Undeclared”), who has the honorable distinction of being credited as Toe-Sucking Girl in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” but will most likely forever be remembered for her credit as Period Blood Girl in “Superbad.” Gallo’s is certainly a scene to be remembered, employing the same gross-out humor that made “Van Wilder” and “American Pie” instant successes.

However, “Superbad” is more sophisticated and sensitive than “American Pie” or any other gross-out comedy we’ve seen in recent years.

Apatow and the comedic fleet he’s been training bring the laughs but, thankfully, don’t forget the heart. Seth may swear like a drunken frat boy (even when sober) and both boys may say whatever’s on their mind, however inappropriate it may be, but the two possess a sweet innocence.

Even though they spend the whole movie pursuing beer and babes, all they’re really trying to do is hang on to each other. Leaving behind a best friend to go to college is a situation many of us have faced, but Seth and Evan are more co-dependent than most, and the underlying tension of their inevitable separation is prevalent throughout their entire adventurous evening together.

“Superbad” is an extraordinary conglomeration of talent, and its success on the big screen is the result of years of work by Apatow and the group of actors, writers and directors that he has collected around him, with Hill and Cera as its latest additions.

Just as “Knocked Up” made Seth Rogen a new staple in comedy, “Superbad” is sure to do the same for these two young actors.

The Frat Pack may have been the reigning kings of comedy in the past few years, but 2007 is the year of Apatow and company. So far, they have yet to disappoint.