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The Jail Bait of Superbad

Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer


ImageI have never felt weirder about getting turned on by a movie than I have after seeing an advance screening of Superbad.

And let me be clear: I recommend this movie. Highly. It's a teen sex comedy, and a damn good one. It follows the tried-and-true formula of "Horny teenage guys must do X to get laid; shenanigans ensue," and it demonstrates that the formula still has legs. In this case, the horny teenage guys (Jonah Hill and Arrested Development's Michael Cera) must scare up some booze for a big year-end party at their high school. The shenanigans include a robbery at a liquor store, an unplanned trip to a party full of thirtysomethings, and some joyriding with a pair of ne'er-do-well cops (Bill Hader and Knocked Up's Seth Rogen).
 

So why did this movie make me feel oogy? Two words: Jail bait. This movie has more jail bait than a high school cheerleading championship, and I've decided to take it upon myself to prepare you, the hapless, potentially horny viewer, for this movie by itemizing the arguably underage females in question and how guilty you should feel about lusting after each of them. I'll proceed in ascending order of guilt.

ImageLURE NUMBER ONE:
Emma Stone as Jules
GUILT LEVEL: Moderate

Oddly enough, the youngest of the three alarmingly pubescent love interests in this movie is also the one who'll induce the least amount of soul-searching among the largely grown-up crowd who will flock to see this movie just because they're promoting it as a de facto follow-up to 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Who is this reasonably college-age looking minx? None other than Emma Stone, who also appeared on the short-lived Fox series Drive. Here's a clip of her in Superbad. She shows up near the end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSvEWNDMeww

Emma Stone. Birthdate Nov. 6, 1988. She's 19 now, which means she could have been as young as 17 when she shot Superbad.

Feel guilty yet?

ImageLURE NUMBER TWO: Martha MacIsaac as Becca
GUILT LEVEL: High

For those of you who have braved the cutthroat world of professional acting, you probably know that casting directors often have to hire actors who look a lot younger than they are; say, an 18-year-old to play a 15-year-old.

Martha MacIsaac was 20 or 21 when she appeared in Superbad. Check out this clip where Michael Cera checks her out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyafX0DoH9I

Wilson. Tango. Fox-trot. Did they cast MacIsaac as 21 to play fucking nine?

OK, OK, OK — reality check. Maybe I'm just a curmudgeon. I grew up with movies like The Breakfast Club and Back to the Future, where they cast laughably old actors to play high-schoolers — Michael J. Fox and Judd Nelson spring to mind — and maybe I'm just not used to seeing age-appropriate actors play high-schoolers.

But again, Superbad isn't, say, Can't Hardly Wait, the zippy, utterly PG-13 1998 comedy with Ethan Embry, Jennifer Love Hewitt's Boobs and two future cast members of Six Feet Under. No, Superbad is a hard R, and MacIsaac plays a large part in earning that hard R, mainly by lusting after Michael Cera's smooth cock. That's right, ladies and gents — be prepared to hear MacIsaac moan, "Your cock is so smooth" to a flabbergasted Cera at the movie's climax, where, as befits a good-hearted movie like this, neither of our stalwart heroes gets laid.

But why do we still feel so fucking guilty?

Moving on, let's meet our final pseudo-Lolita:

ImageLURE NUMBER THREE: Aviva as Nicola
GUILT LEVEL: Holy shit

Believe me, choosing the most unsettling piece of jail bait in this movie was harder than choosing the shittiest Star Wars prequel. The singularly named Aviva has a much smaller role than MacIsaac, but Aviva not only looks way younger, she figures into one of the movie's signature shots. Check out the very funny restricted trailer, which employs the word "fuck" with Bobby-Knight-caliber alacrity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCcagk26siA

You have three guesses which shot showed Aviva, and the first two can't be "whale tail."

OK, now that I'm done grandstanding about the outrageous use of jail bait in this movie, let's step back a moment to praise director Greg Mottola, who has fallen victim to the weird subversion of authorial credit that happens to a director who works under a big-name producer. It happened to jittery horror-showman Tobe Hooper, who saw the stomach-shurning, bloodless mayhem of his Texas Chainsaw Massacre disappear into the soft-focus suburbia of Poltergeist, which producer Steven Spielberg should have just directed his own damn self.

Fortunately for Mottola, producer Judd Apatow of 40-Year-Old Virgin fame delights in the same style of intelligent, goofball, randy, good-hearted chaos that Apatow so deftly presented in his freshman flick. This means that Mottola got to shoot the refreshingly low-rent and consistently hilarious Superbad as he saw fit — Apatow's name will simply carry the movie to a big opening.

And despite my alarm at the sexualization of nebulously legal-age females in Superbad, it's a damn funny movie that makes excellent use of its two leads. You already saw Jonah Hill riff in the clip with Emma Stone above, but check out this clip of Cera on the tragically short-lived series Arrested Development:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMm43xT1X7Q

(Side note: Cera has elevated hormone-scrambled teenage awkwardness to a kabuki high-artform, and rest assured that you'll see more of this hilarity in Superbad.)

Why do I mention Arrested Development? Well, first, because the show, with its dramatic superstructure of neverending moral mini-dilemmas, was a masterpiece,  and second, because Superbad director Mottola directed a few episodes of the show — an experience that clearly led him to the free-associative lunacy in his first movie.

It's also worth mentioning Arrested Development, because over its three truncated seasons, the show deals quite frankly with a long-developing romance between Michael Cera's character and his cousin, played by Alia Shawkat, who you saw in the above clip. Shawkat was underage for most (if not all) of Arrested Development's run, and like John Irving in The Hotel New Hampshire, the show's producers dared to explore what happens as kids turn into adults — even if it makes us feel oogy sometimes.

Superbad dares to do the same.

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Author: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer

Robert J. Peterson is a writer and web developer living in Los Angeles. A Tennessee native, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s written for newspapers and websites all over the country, including the Marin Independent Journal, the Telluride Daily Planet, CC2KOnline.com, Offscreen, and Geekscape.net. He co-hosts the podcasts Make It So and Hiram’s Lodge. He’s appeared as a pop-culture guru on the web talk shows Comics on Comics, The Fanbase Press Week In Review, Collider Heroes, ScreenJunkies TV Fights, and Fandom Planet. He’s the founder of California Coldblood Books.

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