Movies: Superbad, The Company

OK, here’s what I’m not looking forward to: the next three-to-six months of hearing the unfunny loser at work say, “I am McLovin.”

But I’m willing to live with that. Superbad‘s a funny f—in’ movie.

A film that seems closer to the sex comedies of the 1980s in spirit than the sex comedies of today, like American Pie, and American Pie 2... and that Band Camp thing… <shudder>

Except, instead of, say, showing boobies, Superbad seems more concerned with male genitalia. And odd sexual practices.

Superbad posterAnd its main characters are a lot more knowledgeable about sex than their ’80s counterparts. Not that they’ve actually actively participated: Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are virgins. And we’re back to the ’80s again.

I don’t want to go ahead and lay out a full-fledged criticism for the movie. Let me just go through the high points:

1. Seth Rogen, who also plays a cop in the movie, and Evan Goldberg wrote this movie when they were in high school. And when I say it shows, that’s not an insult. They have a genuine idea how high school boys act and talk.

2. Both Hill and Cera handle their parts very well. Hill’s the loud, funny kid you remember that had very little interior editing before he talked. Cera’s the awkward, quiet nice guy. Yet there are points when both are willing to take chances with their roles and it pays off: Hill gets sensitive, Cera actually becomes somewhat unlikable.

3. McLovin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, does indeed mostly steal the movie. His character’s real name is Fogell, but you add McLovin to the mix and Fogell blossoms into a genuinely fun guy.

OK, the ending seems kind of tacked on — it still works pretty well — and yeah, it does get a little too over-obsessed with all that dick. But that’s nit picking. It’s just funny as hell.

Going a completely different way, I’ll also mention TNT’s superb CIA mini-series The Company. Now, I’ve heard some say it’s the best spy drama ever made — not true, that distinction belongs to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with Sir Alec Guinness.

What The Company is is a grade-A yarn that weaves real facts with fiction into a neat little package with a solid twist ending. And two standout performances:

Keaton in The Company

1. Michael Keaton as the meticulous, maddening James Angleton. Keaton portrays the electron-micro-managing Angleton in such a way that you alternately hate him and understand him. In the end, Keaton’s Angleton is a singularly devoted man who simply wanted what was best for his Company.

2. Alessandro Nivola as Leo Kritsky. After floating through the first few hours in and out of action, Nivola pops onto the screen toward the end. He wrests command of the movie from nearly everyone, and that includes estimable talents such as Alfred Molina and Tom Hollander.

Chris O’Donnell, who plays the lead, holds the movie together rather nicely. He’s not a powerful actor by any means, but he can handle himself nicely.

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