Cowritten by Seth Rogen and produced by Judd Apatow, this raucous teen comedy is exactly what you'd expect from the men responsible for Undeclared, THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP. It's mostly very crude, often very funny and a little bit smarter than you might otherwise think.
It's two weeks before high-school graduation, and the most unlikely thing has happened to Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), two extremely close lifelong friends who, if they keep it up, will probably die virgins. They've been invited to an honest-to-god graduation party — and not just any party. This shindig is being thrown by Jules (Emma Stone), the love of Seth's life, and Evan knows for sure that the object of his own desire, Becca (Martha Maclsaac), will also be there. For years chubby Seth and meek Evan have had only each other, and the coming school year promises to be hard on both of them; they had planned to attend Dartmouth University together, but only Evan was accepted. But this night is all about Jules' party, and Seth and Evan are men on a mission. Ever since Seth let slip that their friend, amazingly nerdy, Dartmouth-bound uber-nebbish Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the real star of the show), who talks like he's straight out of Compton, is getting a fake ID, it's become their job to supply the liquor. But Fogell's brand-new Hawaiian driver's license is hardly convincing: It not only says the pale and hairless Fogell is 25, it absurdly gives his name as simply "McLuvin." Nevertheless, Seth and Evan are determined to get their ladies their booze, so they send Fogell into the liquor store with their shopping list. Then everything suddenly goes haywire. The store is robbed, Fogell is knocked unconscious, and the police arrive, leaving Seth and Evan to do the only thing two good friends can do in a situation like this: Ditch Fogell and take off with a total stranger (Joe Lo Truglio) who promises to get them what they need. Thus begins a nightlong odyssey that will lead Evan and Seth to examine their friendship and their futures, while Fogell is left in the custody of two wildly reckless and quite possibly psychotic patrolmen (Rogen and SNL's Bill Hader) who think "McLuvin" is totally badass.
Rogen's screenplay, which he and cowriter Evan Goldberg worked on for years (and which, if their characters' names and appearances are any indication, is largely based on their own experiences), charts yet another long night's journey into adulthood a la AMERICAN GRAFFITI, DAZED & CONFUSED, HOUSE PARTY, DETROIT ROCK CITY and even HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE. But like many scripts that have been lovingly tinkered with for years, it's filled with a mind-numbing number of random conversations, most of which are about boobs and booze and some of which are quite funny. Unfortunately, they come at the expense of the character development that might have made this comedy stick more than it does. Two strong but all-too-short scenes in which Seth and Evan reveal their true feelings about each other give an indication of where director Greg Mottola — whose debut, THE DAYTRIPPERS (1996), stands as one of the strongest, most heartfelt comedies of the '90s — might have taken the film, had he gained greater control over this unruly, overloaded script. leave a comment --Ken Fox