Superbad (Blu-ray) (2007)

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Released 23-Jan-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-udd Apatow, Seth Rogren, Greg Mottola, Evan Goldberg, Jonah
Featurette-Making Of-Making-of Superbad
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On-Set Diaries
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Press Junket Meltdown
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Michael's Voicemails from Jonah
Outtakes-Line-O-Rama
Outtakes-Gag Reel
Outtakes-TV Safe
Featurette-Cop Car Confessions: A Ride Along with Clark County's Finest
Deleted Scenes-Deleted and Extended Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Snakes on Jonah
Featurette-Table Reads
Featurette-Cast Auditions
Featurette-Everybody Hates Michael Cera: The Unfortunate True Story
Featurette-Making Of-The Music of Superbad
Deleted Scenes-Semen Conversation
Bonus Episode-The Vagtastic Voyage
Trailer-Various
Featurette-Making Of-Dancing Title Sequence
Easter Egg-Stormy Daniels and Paul Rudd
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 118:40
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Greg Mottola
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jonah Hill
Michael Cera
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Bill Hader
Seth Rogen
Martha MacIsaac
Emma Stone
Case ?
RPI ? Music Lyle Workman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Italian Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Estonian
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Italian
Polish
Romanian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

I got soul, huh, and I'm super bad, huh!

James Brown

One prominent critic described 2007 as the year that Judd Apatow saved comedy. I probably wouldn't have gone that far but there is no escaping the fact that the two Apatow produced films from last year Knocked Up and Superbad were monster successes both from a critical viewpoint and at the box office. In fact, for low budget films they were monster hits, Knocked Up bringing in $219 million worldwide and Superbad a more than respectable $169.9 million. Of course, his 2006 film The 40 Year Old Virgin was no box office slouch either.

The reason for this success may well be that for the first time since There's Something About Mary and Meet the Parents audiences felt that they could laugh at crude humour without feeling cheap.

Knocked Up dealt with the crisis of two people forced to become parents despite their very different personal failings. Superbad is, on the face of it, no adult picture. It concerns boys on the cusp of manhood dealing with their desires. However, it does it so well that the film became a great date movie for the teens and a nostalgia trip for those pushing middle age.

Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are bestest buddies at the crossroads of their lives. They have been inseparable since they were 8 but a tragedy has occurred in their final year of high school - the nerdy, responsible Evan has got into a prestigious college whereas slacker Seth has missed the cut. Seth is still hurting but he has one quest to concentrate on - to get laid by the end of the school year and, if he is lucky, to have a girlfriend over the summer break.

The plan seems simple. After all the world of American teen comedies shows us that there are nubile nymphs throughout US schools just waiting for some lovin' Seth style. Unfortunately, this is the real world (well sort of). Seth is fat and pretty obnoxious and Evan is a wallflower. He is keen to join in the plan but only if they can respect the women they bed. He has his eyes on Becca (Martha MacIsaac), a nice girl in his class.

Seth realises that they need to be at a party and surrounded by drunk girls before they can convince a girl to sleep with them. The second problem is that they don't get invited to a lot of parties. A fun night out for them is sitting at home with other friend Fogel (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) watching gonzo porn show The Vagtastic Voyage on the internet.

In a stroke of amazing luck Seth gets invited to a party by his idol Jules. Full of teenage hubris he boasts that Fogel is going that very day to get a fake ID so Jules asks if he would kindly bring the booze.

Like Martin Scorsese's After Hours, where the mere act of getting home is a Kafkaesqe journey into the deep dark night of the soul the quest to buy the booze becomes the core of the plot for the remainder of Superbad. It is a tribute to the writers (buddies Seth Rogen and Evan Hadfield -see the connection!) the actors and director Greg Mottola that what could very well be a frustrating and tedious journey gains Homeric proportions as our heroes are split up, come together again and face challenge after challenge. All just for some alcohol!

It all starts with Fogel and his fake ID. Not content to call himself something ordinary Fogel chooses the singular moniker "McLovin". Trust me, after the credits roll you will chuckle to yourself every time the name "McLovin " pops into your head. After a surprisingly successful liquor purchase Fogel is the victim of a mugging in the store which swiftly brings in the police in the form of writer and comic legend Seth Rogen and fellow Canadian comic Bill Hader. The cops offer to drop Fogel, booze and all, off at the party but as luck would have it they have to respond to a number of emergency calls and seem to enjoy hanging out with McLovin.

Seth and Evan, seeing the cops arrive at the liquor store, assume that Fogel has been busted and try to take off. Unfortunately, Seth gets hit by a car. The very apologetic (but broke) driver offers to take them to a real party with girls and booze. Of course nothing seems to work out as they plan.

Will they make it to the party? Will they have the booze when they do? Most importantly, will they get to Nirvana?

The answers may be predictable but the journey isn't. Despite the incessant cussing from Seth this is a cut above just about every teen comedy since the first American Pie. The characters are well drawn and very well acted. The girls are fresh and very real. As Fogel, Mintz-Plasse redefines the geek in a way that will be fondly remembered by every wedgie rashed teen out there. Michael Cera essentially reprised this role in Juno as the sensitive, thoughtful guy who always means well. He is a fine actor, honing his craft in Arrested Development. For his own developments sake, here's hoping he moves into a different character in future.

As the foul mouthed Seth, Jonah Hill is a motor mouth supreme. Underneath it all he too has his heart in the right place and the script allows his transformation to come logically yet surprisingly.

The action rarely bogs down and this is a very funny movie. The only version on Blu-ray is the Badass Edition with 5 minutes of footage surgically reinserted into the movie. Opinions diifer as to the value of extended editions. My take on it is that both 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up seemed laborious in extended editions. I didn't see Superbad theatrically but apparently some of the added material includes a conversation with the liquor store clerk and the cops after the mugging. If so, readers help me, this scene seemed out of place making the cops dumber than a viewer could believe or accept. It was one of the few wrong notes in the film.

Superbad doesn't redefine the teen sex comedy genre but it does present it in the best possible light - respecting the quest for loss of virginity whilst carrying some form of moral.

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Transfer Quality

Video

  Superbad has been transferred to Blu-ray using the MPEG-4 AVC at a native 1080p resolution. The transfer maintains the original 1.85:1 cinematic aspect ratio.

The transfer is technically flawless. Colours are bright and clear. The blacks are inky deep which is important given how much of the film occurs at night and flesh tones are true to life.

There are no compression problems nor is there any aliasing of other defects to be noted.

The only "flaws" are inherent in the source material. This would never be a title that leaps off the screen. In the cinema it was clean and good looking without being exceptional and this Blu-ray release is pretty much the same .The cinematography is consistent and good but not astounding.

There are subtitles aplenty on the Blu-ray including English, English for the Hearing Impaired and literally too many others to count. They are listed above. The subtitles I viewed gave a good account of on-screen action.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   The sound for Superbad for the English speaking includes PCM 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit) and Dolby TrueHD 5.1.

Other languages include Italian: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 , Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1

Blu-ray owners who have next generation sound formats are currently clogging internet forums world wide arguing whether uncompressed PCM is better than True HD. On the showing of this film they are both pretty much the same.

The sound is at its best in some of the police car scenes with powerful crunches when a hapless pedestrian hits the windscreen and in the bass licks which underpin the whole Superbad groovy soundtrack.

I write more about the soundtrack below but suffice it to say that when you have James Brown's rhythm section on hand there's going to be some serious funkin' goin' on! The bass kicks in with some serious sub-woofer action and the surround effects though limited are nicely ambient.

Dialogue, including multiple cuss words, is clear as day and the sound has a nice balance to it.

There are no real defects I could hear.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

There are extras and there are Superbad-extras! The two Blu-rays have menu screens that combine funky music and lots of p**** doodles. That is the good news. The bad news is that the film disc loads slower than a wet week,. Blu-ray owners have long accepted that a cup of tea can be made between turning on the player, popping in the movie and sitting down to watch but this is longer than I have previously experienced. Torture!

The Blu-ray edition of the film contains a second disc featuring all the extras from the Badass Edition of the DVD. This contains hours of viewing pleasure. Some of the extras are on the main Blu-ray and others are on the separate set. They alternate between high definition and noisy video.

Audio commentaries: Judd Apatow, Seth Rogren, Greg Mottola, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse

The commentary track for this film should be a funny event and it is. Featuring major cast members and the writer and director (as well as the 10 year old daughter of Mottola) this is packed with asides and general ribbing. It must be said that those looking for a detailed commentary on the making of the film, the thematic elements at work and the choice of camera setups can dream on. This is a bunch of guys having fun remembering the movie. Much time is devoted to the audition process and some of the quirky aspects to the filming. For example, we learn (and I think I believe) that the young Seth who is obsessed with drawing p****es was not permitted to be seen drawing these images. They instead used a woman with extremely small hands to mock up the shots. It is those sorts of details that keep the commentary ticking over. At the end of the day you haven't learnt a lot - but you have been entertained!

Documentary: Making-of Superbad

Considering the wealth of extras on the disc the Making of feature is surprisingly lightweight giving the usual glib guide to the production process.

Cop Car Confessions: A Ride Along with Clark County's Finest

Much of the humour in the film occurs in the riffing of cops Seth Rogen and Bill Hader with McLovin in the back. Following on from this idea this is a series of short improvisations with a combination of well known and little known comedians and actors (including Apatow. Rogen and Hader play their characters and the guests play an "arrestee". The results are generally interesting, occasionally very funny and occasionally dry. The blue screen used to suggest the police car is moving is a little on the cheap side but this is still worth a watch.

Snakes on Jonah

Jonah Hill professes that he is scared of creepy crawleys. What better way to have fun on the set than to have a pair of scary creature wranglers come on and put giant cockroaches, snakes and scorpions on him! Hill looks frightened to death.

Vag-tastic Voyage

In the movie the lads occupy their time watching this show on the internet rather than meeting real girls. This is a fleshed out scene featuring production assistant Matthew Bass and porn stars Jenna Haze and Aurora Snow. Worth a giggle.

Everybody Hates Michael Cera: The Unfortunate True Story

This is more than worth a giggle. Cera is being interviewed on-set. He waxes on about how everyone on the set gets on so well. Behind the scenes director, producer and co-stars complain about how much they hate him. Everyone must have had a lot of fun doing this.

The Music of Superbad

Now you are talking! The soundtrack not only features a slew of music from recognized artists but some original high calibre tunes. Lyle Workman may have written the tunes but it is the solid gold funk power of Bootsy Collins, Catfish Collins, John J'abo Starks, Bernie Worrell and Clyde Stubberfield that elevates the music to a higher place. The sign on the wall says it all : Will Funk for Food". These old troupers are all alumni of the James Brown band or funk legends Funkadelic/Parliament and this featurette shows the team funking away to create the awesome grooves for the film.

On-Set Diaries

Hill begins the video diary right at day one with the soccer training sequence. Other members of the cast take us through the shoot and introduce us to the production team.

Press Junket Meltdown

This is a funny skit featuring Michael Cera and Jonah Hill in which the latter reacts badly to a series of questions about his weight and storms out but not before threatening to punch the interviewers #$@%en head in!

Michael's Voicemails from Jonah

Cera provides a written introduction to a series of voice mails left by Hill on his answering machine which go to confirm that Hill is way way out there!

Line-O-Rama

Hill, Rogen and Heder improvised a lot of their lines. This short featurette shows them riffing on familiar lines to get the right crude nuance.

Cast Auditions

Three sets of auditions are included here. The first is with Michael Cera, the second with Jonah Hill whilst he was filming Knocked up and the third is with Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Cera and Hill read with him). To be honest none of these auditions was that exciting. The last one is really a loose line reading with the actors struggling to remember what comes next.

Table Reads

Two table reads are included here. The first is from way back in 2001 and is shot on fuzzy digital when the cast was not set. They read the soccer pitch scene. The second is from 2006 when just about everybody was present. This is a far more watchable affair not just because of the improved picture quality on offer. The cast have a lot of fun with the scenes including the soccer pitch but also the final party scene. It is great fun watching the reaction of the cast to the lines particularly some of the grosser ones!

Deleted and Extended Scenes

A series of 6 deleted scenes are included as extras. The fact that this film is already an extended edition would suggest that there was not much store place in these added moments and that is pretty much correct. The only scene of real interest is one where Seth and Evan water down some alcohol to take to the party.

Alternate title sequence

This is a short feature showing Cera and Hill doing the dancing sequence that appears as part of the credits and DVD menu.

Gag Reel

A fairly tame gag reel with the usual line fluffs and carry on. The only real chuckle for me was all the trouble Michael Cera had getting the "tit punch" right.

TV Safe

As much as Hill claims that he hates doing TV safe versions of his films he obliges by doing some line runs with suitable euphemisms for some of the more crude concepts. Just how you make a film that has a truckload of "F" words family safe is beyond me but Hill seems up to the challenge.

Semen Conversation

One of the longer comedic riffs in the film between the cops is the subject of this short extra where Rogen and Hader improvise throughout with copious giggling. There is also a single Blu-ray exclusive feature on the movie disc.

SuperMeter

When activated, an on-screen graphic keeps running score of the curse words, sexually explicit language, and utterances of the name "McLovin". I can't imagine getting drunk enough to watch the whole movie through with the meter activated which is toggled by the Red and Blue buttons on the Blu-ray player remote. How many curse words? A lot! I noted from another site than there is an Easter Egg on the Blu-ray. Thanks Hi-Def Digest!: Paul Rudd Auditions Stormy Daniels (6 min., HD) – On disc 2, highlight "Press Junket Meltdown" and press UP twice. Select the flying p**** icon that appears in the upper right corner of the screen to watch a badly-staged prank involving Paul Rudd and porn star Stormy Daniels that plays like a sequel to the "My Dinner with Stormy" extra on the '40 Year-Old Virgin' disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The Region A (North America etc) release of this Blu-ray apparently contains a trailer for the next Rogen/Goldberg comedy Pineapple Express entitled Exclusive First Look (4:27).

In any event it appears that the Region A Blu-ray of this movie is region locked.

Summary

    Superbad is a teen sex comedy with a difference. The difference being some solid acting and a script that defines character as well as it pulls gross out gags.

The film is well transferred to Blu-ray although it will never be my first choice to show off my home theatre system.

The extras are so voluminous that I reached the end of our website listing for extras - no kidding!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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