The latest comic meteorite to hurtle forth from the galaxy of producer Judd Apatow, Superbad is about a couple of chronically unpopular best friends (Jonah Hill and Michael Cera) who, after four years stuck on the lowest rung of the high-school social ladder, find themselves invited to a legitimately cool party. Goodbye, Friday nights chugging Old Milwaukees in their parents' basements; hello, getting shitfaced in the company of a few dozen of their not-particularly-close friends. More important, having completed their independent study in Internet porn, our heroes finally get the chance to put their virtual carnal knowledge to practical use. Provided, that is, they can actually get to the party. Written by Knocked Up star Seth Rogen and co-writer Evan Goldberg, Superbad turns into something like the Lord of the Rings of adolescent nookie movies—a hazard-filled journey toward the fiery gates of Mount Poon. It's achingly funny, but what sets it apart from other high-school comedies is its sweet, soulful vulnerability. That naughty-but-nice approach might seem something of an Apatow cliché by now if the characters themselves didn't ring so true. Make no mistake: Superbad is a movie about getting wasted and getting laid, but it is above all an ode to the end of teenage innocence in all its wonderful, horrible splendor.
Cera (left) and Hill confront early adulthood.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., Aug. 17. Rated R. 110 minutes.