Friday, 11 September 2009
Superbad is maybe the most successful movie in history, in which the director got absolutely no credit at all for its quality. People were in such a rush to blow smoke up Judd Apatow that they basically ignored Greg Mottola, the film's actual director. I actually preferred that to Apatow's own Knocked Up, as it was definitely the funnier of the two, and without the pretension of pertaining to be a real movie. Anyway, Mottola's follow-up to that film's huge success is this, a semi-autobiographical indie Rom-com set in a rundown theme park. And its a success, balancing the comedy and the more serious stuff quite delicately for the most part. Its a bit cliched and other films have certainly covered this kind of stuff this decade, but its fun and surprisingly well-written, with Mottola's screen-writing abilities being a little bit more refined and witty then those of Apatow and co. who are more about going for the jugular. This is a different kind of movie, more in tune with films like Rocket Science.
The performances are a pleasant surprise too, with most being more sardonic and underplayed. The only big performance here is Bill Hader as the theme park manager, and he is funny so its OK. Kudos too to Kristen Wiig, who in a role so under-used it basically consists of reacting to Hader, manages to draw laughs out of it. I enjoyed Martin Starr too, of Party Down fame, who may be one of the best actors around when it comes to expressionless sarcasm. His delivery makes even the lesser lines sound awesome. Ryan Reynolds turns up in what on the whole is a straight role, but imbues it with a surprising amount of depth. He really is a much better actor then people give him credit for. As for the leads, Jesse Eisenberg was an original presence in a role that was anything but, and Kristen Stewart, who is an actress destined to be absorbed by the Twilight universe, gives a performance that anyone who'd seen her pre Bella Swan knows she can give. In ten years, once Twilight is done I could see her becoming one of the stronger actresses around, but for now one has to mock for being partied to one of the most unintentionally hilarious franchises in movie history.
The film is far from unique, but its a warm, droll small movie with good acting that I'd definately recommend.