Sunday, August 19, 2007

Interesting look at Superbad

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I will get to Glen Baity's review of Superbad in a moment, but first I wanted to point out an interesting write-up that a spy named 'Midol Girl' did for AICN.

Normally, I hold no truck whatsoever with the spy reviews written for AICN, mainly because the 'spies' have a tendency to liars who haven't even seen the film they are reviewing, or worse, 'plants' who work for the studio or filmmakers responsible for the movie in question.

But 'Midol Girl' seems legit, and she doesn't really recommend Superbad much as comment on the way the female characters were portrayed:

Usually I leave the theater after these types of movies feeling the same way I used to feel around all the 17 yr old boys in high school; like I was just a soulless walking pair of jugs and muff. That my sexuality only existed to be the butt of their locker room jokes or a dirty mental snap-shot that they could file away in their sleazy brain rolodexes to use as source material for their next hot date with a sweaty tube sock and a bottle of hand lotion. But, to my surprise, I didn’t feel that way at all with this one.

Even though the girls in Superbad were introduced into the storyline in typical teen comedy fashion as the coveted, unattainable mysteries that the male protagonists are in sexual pursuit of, they were authentically portrayed having diverse personalities, appearances and values. As the story evolved, so did the female characters, and by the end of the film they were no longer simply male fantasies but fully fleshed out characters equal to their male counterparts.

Having seen the film myself, I must agree. Younger female actresses seldom get roles with as much humanity as Superbad's Martha MacIsaac and Emma Stone. Sure, a young actress can hope for a fairly intelligent comedy to come around like Mean Girls, but for the most part, Hollywood resigns them to playing knife-fodder in misogynistic horror films or eye-candy in sex comedies written like they were intended for nine year-olds. What I adored about Superbad is that while it is a teen sex comedy, it was written by adults who have taken the time to thoughtfully consider what the high school experience really was. The young women are objectified by the main characters at first. As the movie progresses, however, the high school lads are thankfully forced to take the objects of their desire seriously. The result is a movie free of the typical glorification of teen sex and drunken party behavior with a refreshing emphasis on the occasional desperation that they both entail.

The guys in Superbad don't want to get laid because of a goofy deal or bet they made with their friends. These guys want to get laid because they are about to graduate from high school, and worry they will be sexually defective if they never had sex before college. This is a fear that a lot of young men have.

A great deal of comedy is derived from pain. The guys who brought us four American Pie movies knew this, but their movies focused on the pain of mass sexual humiliation and accidentally ingesting bodily fluids like urine or sperm. On the other hand, Superbad knows that at times, there is nothing more painful than being alone.


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