Review: Superbad

Michael Cera’s first splash into Hollywood came with the chronically underwatched, yet critically acclaimed cult hit Arrested Development, in which Cera played the neurotic, awkward, though undeniably likeable George Michael Bluth. During the three seasons it was on the air, Cera developed a flair for impeccable comedic timing in portraying a fully capable adolescent that just lacked in self-confidence.

Cera incorporates a more raunchy dialect, but maintains his shy demeanor in Superbad, where Cera plays Evan, a graduating high school senior bound for Dartmouth. Evan and his best friend, Seth (Jonah Hill), are two bottom feeders when it comes to the social totem-pole at school. So when Jules (Emma Stone) invites Seth to her graduation party, Seth, who has had a crush on her for quite some time, not only accepts, but also offers to stock her party full of booze. As it turns out, Evan’s crush, Becca (Martha MacIsaac), will also be at the party, and she wants Evan to get her some alcohol too. The two view it as a last opportunity for two pale, friendless virgins to get some before shipping off to college.

Still, even as low as Seth and Evan are on the social hierarchy, they still try to avoid a third-wheel named Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), that is, until they find out that Fogell has stumbled upon a fake ID and can get them the necessary booze to win their way into their crush’s hearts. The one problem, Fogell – in the spirit of Seal, Madonna and that guy with the funny hair from last season of American Idol – has gotten an ID with only one name on it: “McLovin.”

So, the plot is simple. Get the booze. Get to the party. Get laid. This is the goal of any high school guy on the cusp of leaving for college.

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Review: Rush Hour 3

Rush Hour 3, the latest in the line of summer 2007 sequels can neatly and efficiently be reviewed in one single word – redundant.

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker’s latest pairing isn’t so much the third installment of the Rush Hour franchise as much as it is the aftermath of unfunny and boring recycled parts hastily configured from a basket of clichés and worn-out comedy routines.

The convoluted plot once again pairs Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) and Detective James Carter (Tucker) following the failed assassination of a Chinese diplomat who seeks to – once again – eradicate the Chinese triads. Through some investigation, the duo finds itself in Paris, apparently a nerve-center of the Chinese crime organization. Somehow, a bureaucrat named Reynard (Max von Sydow) and Inspector Lee’s brother Kenji (Hiroyuki Sanada) are also involved, though it’s not entirely clear how their roles fit in with the main storyline.

Continuing in the tradition of its two predecessors, the movie weaves in and out between action sequences with Inspector Lee risking life and limb, jumping, contorting and crouching between the ledges of buildings and Detective Carter screaming racial epitaphs and slurs. While Rush Hour was never confused with rolling-on-the-floor funny, the pairing of Chan and Tucker in the 1998 version was at least somewhat novel. Ten years later, and Tucker’s dialogue still consists mostly of racially-charged rants on the differences between Africans and Asians. If it didn’t wear out its welcome in the second movie, it’s certainly not going to garner many laughs now.

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