NEWS

Video Vault: Pair of comedies go heavy on good ol' American humor

Will Pfeifer

If you’ve seen “Futurama,” you’ll know what to expect: great character comedy, sharp slapstick and sci-fi concepts turned upside-down.

If you’ve never seen the show, don’t worry — “Bender’s Big Score” is considerate enough to introduce its cast, and the movie’s entire plot revolves around the show’s original 1999 pilot episode. That’s good news, because there are three more “Futurama” DVD movies on the way. Now’s a fine time to be a “Futurama” fan — even if there is a lot of math.

There’s no math in “Superbad,” unless it’s this time-tested formula: Teen boys plus sex jokes equals box-office gold.

The film is from producer Judd Apatow, who found similar success combining dirty humor and heartfelt emotion in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”

“Superbad” raises the stakes as far as foul-language is concerned, but lowers the age limit. It’s a plan that makes perfect sense. After all, who is more obsessed with sex than a couple of high school kids who’ve never had any?

“Superbad” focuses on a single day in the life of our two heroes, Evan (Michael Cera of “Arrested Development”) and Seth (Jonah Hill of “Knocked Up”). Like all great heroes, they’re on a quest: Find some booze so they can get into the big party and (hopefully) hook up with their dream girls.

Is that an original plot? Of course not. I’ll bet there are silent movies that tell tales of similar quests. But “Superbad” gives it new life with two secret weapons: emotions that are surprisingly honest and language that is amazingly filthy.

I can’t stress this enough: If you’re offended by foul mouths, do not — I repeat, do not — rent this movie. Not sure? Watch the first scene. Heck, just look at the menu screens. Offended? Pop out the disc, take it back and try something from the PG-rated section. No harm done.

But if you find yourself laughing, stick with “Superbad.” It’s very funny, but it’s also pretty realistic about how life feels as you stand on the edge of graduation, knowing sooner or later you have to jump into that abyss. Your best friend might not be jumping with you, which makes those last days of high school a bit bittersweet. “Superbad” knows that, and underneath all the dirty talk, there’s a heartfelt conversation or two as well.

But don’t worry. There’s more profanity under that. With “Superbad,” there’s always a little more profanity.

Will Pfeifer writes about new DVDs on Tuesdays and older ones on Sundays. Contact him at 815-987-1244 or wpfeifer@rrstar.com.