Pros: So many
Cons: Not so many
I remember a while back a friend of mine posted this on his Facebook status: “Just like a woman, even when you’re dead, they wanna take your heart out!” And his response when someone said they recognized the source of the quote was (Bill Hader’s character), “Love this movie man. Reminds me way too much of high school.”
And that’s exactly what it does for me too.
This movie captures a lot of the emotions teens can feel: what to do about a girl, the different social experiences you two have had in the past and whether they coincide at all, how you feel when you see her talking to her friends, looking at her past dating record, etc. And the urgency for Seth and Evan is there in particular considering there are only a few weeks left in their high school experience.
Seth and Evan are two best friends under the impression that revealing feelings of platonic love to each other is gay, and trying to live it up the best they can until graduation...and then there's summer...and then college inevitably comes and changes everything. They're both concerned about the present AND the future, because while the latter is always lurking, it's the former that is presenting opportunities and problems at their current juncture in life. It's senior year in high school, and it's ridiculously accurate.
Like “American Pie,” this movie will have you paralleling certain characters with people from your own high school. People who you have an unspoken past history with. People who did or didn’t fit into social groups or the overall hierarchy of high school as a whole. Random acquaintances. The friendships, the fakeness and BS and everything in between. Getting back to the story, though, I knew well of the feelings that were conveyed here: one of the many is when you see a girl you like talking to her friends, obviously, you’re nervous. Because she’s silly and uninhibited but yet so lovable at the same time that you wish she was that way with you. If she knew you at all. And in an almost irrational way, it’s scary to see that. When Seth (Jonah Hill) approaches Jules (Emma Stone), the girl he’s interested in, through a stroke of entire coincidence (her lab partner in Home Ec was absent) they finally break the ice and work on a project together, and afterwards he immediately goes to Evan (Michael Cera) with an amazed, out-of-breath revelation that she’s having a party and wants him to stop by sometime during the evening. When Christopher Mintz-Plasse arrives in one of those “visiting-friends-in-other-classes-despite-the-fact-you’re-not-in-that-class” situations with a sad sense of swagger and self-importance, Seth and Evan nonetheless are down to co-opt his idea of using a fake ID to get liquor to the party – which Seth brags about to Jules, who is impressed and who gives him a list of things she wants him to buy. After that, Evan does the same thing for Becca, the girl he likes (played by Martha McIsaac) – and after impressing both girls, they grab Fogel (Mintz-Plasse) do put it into action. But he screwed it up (and while Evan is an optimistic realist, Seth is infuriated). And that’s the start of many obstacles.
While Jules is said to have been friendly with Seth prior to the events of the movie (according to Evan), that’s not really gone into – there are no flashbacks (aside from one that is kinda important to the movie) and it only focuses on high school at its end. The twists and turns that prevent the two protagonists from getting to the party on time and seeing their respective women have a lot to do with the two police officers, whose arrival is key to the original plan getting screwed up (since Fogel was there when the store got robbed). While making conversation with Fogel at the liquor store, they decide to give him a ride…until they get their normal police calls.
Haven’t I already explained with my many thoughts on love, sex, and high school that Jonah Hill did a more than excellent job playing Seth? And people say Michael Cera has no acting range. And I’m not going to entirely disagree but if that’s the case – four good-to-excellent movies (this, “Juno,” “Youth in Revolt,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) is an accomplishment that’s better than most actors with his predicament. And he is perfect, more romantic and awkward contrast to Jonah Hill here. Obviously, the point of his character was too occasionally be so tongue-tied around his love interest, Becca, it made you uncomfortable. Evan is obviously more of a romantic, while Seth is a bit more ashamed of still being a virgin at the end of high school despite having had experiences with women in the past – however, that’s not to say his feelings don’t have legitimate depth. There are scenes, especially when he’s with her himself, tongue-tied and anxious – and obviously that happens when in the presence of a beautiful woman, but moreso in the presence of a beautiful woman you genuinely like.
I don’t mean to focus TOO much about the characters’ love life predicaments and what they want to do about them…but that is a good part of the movie.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse would get a pass from me just based on a few random scenes from the movie: the perfect “O” face he makes right before he’s tackled by the gun-toting bum, the many times he’s just goofing around with Officers Michael & Slater, from when he’s just an uncomfortable third wheel to the time he legitimately bonds with them. The banter between Seth Rogen and Bill Hader is priceless, and it’s hard to say what part of the movie the actors are at their best – although you could make a strong case for their entrance at the party. This is also probably Seth Rogen’s best role, in my opinion.
And what’s great about getting the 2-disc edition is that there are special features: there’s a “making of”, goofs/bloopers (I always say I’d be infinitely more comfortable watching horror movies if there were a blooper reel in the extras), deleted scenes (which make any movie you like better instantly) and a few…more crude things that may not win over people who wouldn’t ordinarily like types of films like these. But I do. Because this is the perfect representation of what it is like to be a high school kid. And it’s a damn realistic movie.
While Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Judd Apatow have all done lots of great things, I still believe that this is their magnum opus, individually or collectively. And while I have very mixed feelings towards high school, rewatching this always makes me miss it.