**½/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B+
starring Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader
screenplay by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
directed by Greg Mottola
by Walter Chaw Raunchy teensploitation, sexploitation, you-name-itsploitation--it is what it is, and for what it is, Superbad's a fairly decent entry into Judd Apatow's crusade for moral monogamy. What's good about it is unsurprising (Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's script is occasionally brilliant--like when one kid speaks of looking into a kind-hearted rival's eyes as "like the first time I heard The Beatles"), and what's bad about it is unsurprising, too, such as its determination to be beloved beneath the crassness and scatology. I've come to the conclusion that this warm-fuzziness suggests not a heart so much a pulled punch; you compare Superbad to something like Revenge of the Nerds and find the latter's themes of fellowship and family are unobtrusive, whereas the former is pushy to the point of searching glances and lingering goodbyes between its best-chum protagonists Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera). It's terribly insightful on that point, mind you, that boys of a certain age often hold as their truest and deepest love the friendship of another boy they've known through the war years of early adolescence and high school. When college, or marriage, or even serious girlfriends intrude, men are invited to grow old into their new roles as civilians in the civil sense of the word. If you don't, you have Rogen's character in Knocked Up, or Steve Carell's in The 40 Year Old Virgin--but even if you begin there, it seems this cycle of films is mainly interested in pushing them forward into the realm of the conventional.