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Notes from the back row

Superbad one of the best

“You know those girls, they say , ‘Man I was so gone last night, I shouldn’t have slept with that guy.’ Don’t you understand? We could be that mistake.”


Noble aspirations indeed, but it’s that type of honest, underachieving humour that makes Superbad , opening Friday, one of the funniest films of the year and one of the best teenage sex comedies to come along since American Pie.

Produced by Judd Apatow, whose posse is totally ruling Hollywood comedy these days, Superbad follows the misadventures of three high school outcasts invited by the school hottie to her graduation party on the condition that they supply the alcohol. Perhaps the three buddies will finally get some action before heading off to college. Of course hijinks ensue, including a pair of we-can-be-cool-too police officers, some ruffians at the wrong party, and the best fake ID ever.

Director Greg Mottola (his last film was the underrated The Daytrippers), working from a script by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, pretty much nails the adolescent male persona perfectly, mixing insecurity and embarrassment in with the camaraderie, juvenile gross-out jokes and overbearing interest in the male genitalia. Although at almost two hours the film does drag a tiny bit in the middle that’s only because you’re so interested to see what will happen at the end. Superbad is a low-budget film with fast, witty dialogue, good physical comedy, a funky ’70s feel and that sense of humanity that’s missing from most of the good gross-out films of late. It’s possible the humour might be a bit too male-driven for some of the more sophisticated Whistler ladies out there but for anyone that thinks a drawing of a giant cock dressed up as Mr. T sounds like a good way to end a movie, then this is the funniest flick of the summer.

Not quite as funny is the fact that The Invasion , also dropping on Friday, is based on a film that’s already been made three times (and three times better). The 1956 Sci-fi B-Movie classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a classic space monster movie with a potent social message about the communist/Red Scare. This Invasion , starring Nicole Kidman as a frantic mother trying to protect/free her son (kinda resembling War of the Worlds actually) is more star-driven family melodrama that counts on flaming car chases and computer effects to add tension rather than hidden meanings, creepy sci-fi or that nice sense of general unease found in the original.

An alien substance hitchhikes into earth on one of our crashed space shuttles and pretty soon it’s taking over people and turning them into emotionless shells. The goo can only take you if you fall asleep so Kidman spends most of the film trying to stay awake and acting calm to avoid detection, all the while enduring train wrecks, car chases and a creepy ex-husband with his sights set on infecting her kid. The film is long, jumbled and has a lot of scenes where scientists explain what’s going on so we don’t get bored and leave the theatre. There is a cool part where a bunch of infected waiters spit in people’s coffee and a few shots of Kidman in her underwear (in my opinion, her ass seems to be faring much better than her plastic/frozen looking face).

As a Sci-Fi/psychological family drama The Invasion isn’t total shite. But the fact that it’s been made three times before, much better, and with socio-political undercurrents to add to the paranoia and unease just make this version seem bad. Super bad.

AT VILLAGE 8 Aug. 17-23: Superbad; The Invasion; Daddy Day Camp; Bourne Ultimatum; Rush Hour 3; Hairspray; Hot Rod; Simpsons; Stardust.