Fear Of Sluts
by Molly Lambert
M. Cera: Indie Comedy Dreamboat Pin-Up/Boyfriend Of Charlyne Yi
I finally saw Superbad on Sunday. It was pretty great, at least in part because the theater was very well air-conditioned and I had a refreshing Sierra Mist. It's a million degrees in L.A. right now. Movie theaters are the place to be. I agree with Glaser that it's not really worth discussing. I mean it's kind of just a million funny jokes in a row, none of which will be funny when kids are quoting them in high schools and dorm rooms ad infinitum all fall. In fact, can we just declare an advance moratorium on McLovin jokes? Okay just one.
The problems I had with Superbad are nit-picky and I don't really want to go into them because they'll just make me sound like a total Second-Wave Dwork. Let's just say that the "fear of women and their bodily processes," while a vital part of the male maturation cycle, is not exactly on my top list of "humor topics I intimately relate to." I mean, I guess if someone else got their period on me I'd be pretty disgusted. But like I do know how to get bloodstains out of clothes, which should serve me well when I finally join my fellow crooked Colleens in the Irish Mafia.
Oh who am I kidding, Cera's the reason I loved Superbad instead of just liking it, which is what it really deserved. Every time he's on-screen I just sort of swooned at his genteel sweetness. Like Owen Wilson, Cera somehow radiates peacefulness. Jonah Hill is funny and blustery, as though someone thought to cross-breed between Tommy Boy era Chris Farley with Adam Sandler circa Billy Madison. The girls are pretty good and cute, but again the message (like that of most Apatow joints, unfortunately) is that homo-social male friendship is the purest most wonderful love in the world, but it must eventually be abandoned or at least set aside if one is ever going to have a real relationship with a woman.
"Oh god why can't I just be back with my friends making hand-job jokes again?"
I get that fearing women is the flip side of respecting them. 40 Year Old Virgin touched on this stuff too with the whole "putting the pussy on the pedestal" thing. In all of these comedies (and in movies like Old Joy and The Puffy Chair) the female romantic objects are still forced into being the taskmasters, the keepers of the social order which without them would dissolve into unadulterated Gayhem. I thought Elizabeth Banks in 40 Y.O. Virgin was funny as a crazy nympho, but after the scene with Cera and the drunk girl (similar to a scene in Mean Girls) I got kind of a bad unsympathetic feeling about these boys and their discomfort with girls and sex. I mean I get that the joke is that they're inexperienced emotionally vulnerable prudes. Something about it just rubbed me the wrong way, so to speak.
Superbad had a predictably fantastic soundtrack. Having Cera sing The Guess Who's These Eyes was forgivable because it is a truly ridiculous song. Also, hiring Bootsy Collins and James Brown's band was a total stroke of genius. The whole "lovingly put together mixtape indie soundtrack" is as hoary a modern cliche as any other, but Superbad delivers nonstop funk the likes of hadn't been heard since the New Millenium Funk Party we had on New Year's of the year 2000.
Boogie Nights technically pre-dates Rushmore, and Bottle Rocket the short came out two years before Bottle Rocket the feature premiered in 1996, the same year as P.T.A.'s debut feature Sydney/Hard Eight (sort of) came out. I saw Magnolia at the Burbank mall on Magnolia Boulevard, of all places.
P.T. Anderson's movies might not have much in common with Apatow's superficially, but they both know how to front-load a soundtrack with gems, and they both shoot all their movies in the place where my adolescent hijinx actually also took place, the San Fernando Valley. Anyway, I'm rambling again. Here's the first three songs off Supertramp's "Breakfast In America." Apatow and Anderson both know the value of a well-placed Supertramp jam.
Gone Hollywood - Supertramp: mp3
The Logical Song - Supertramp: mp3
Goodbye Stranger - Supertramp: mp3
Molly Lambert is Senior Editor of This Recording. Sometime in the near future, she'll tell you about the roots of Emosogyny in the French New Wave, so sit tight you lovers of mothers and whores. Oh, and Bret Easton Ellis is both gay and ghey.