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Face-Off: Superbad vs. The Hangover

02.28.2013by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face-Off, we put an alien theme together with a match up between Independence Day and War of the Worlds. Independence Day ended up winning the article's verdict, with our readers ultimately agreeing on the grounds that the film brought more fun blockbuster entertaining than Spielberg's re-imagining of Wars.

This week, with the upcoming release of the new comedy 21 and Over, we've decided to put together a match with two other films centered around drunken escapades. One was the desire of a group of friends to be drunk off their asses, the other was the after affects of a group of friends who got that wish. That's right folks, it's time for Superbad to go up against The Hangover. Both films were hilarious and sported great casts to bring them to life. But which one did you like more? Let's discuss.
Cast
Jonah Hill. Michael Cera. Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Seth Rogen. Bill Hader. Emma Stone.

This movie was filled to the brim with great comedic actors, some of the more experienced cast members hit funnier notes than others but I was pleased with every one of them. The best chemistry came from Mintz-Plasse, Rogen, and Hader with their time together, they all seemed to be having such a blast. Hill and Cera did well with their journey and Hill has evolved into a pretty talented actor (looking at you Moneyball) but sh*t did his obnoxious ass character rub me the wrong way here, loved when Cera finally told him off.
Bradley Cooper. Ed Helms. Zach Galifianakis . Heather Graham. Ken Jeong. Iron Man Mike Tyson.

Thank the gods of comedy that they pulled together three central actors they did for this movie, because the whole deal was dependent on their chemistry and their timing and they delivered in spades. Tyson's cameo was one of the most hilarious things I'd ever seen, Graham was hot as always, and Galifianakis stole the show with the awkward nature of his character. Here is where Ken Jeong became a parody of himself, and here is where it worked. I like that man in this film and Role Models. Big props to a cast that sold the ridiculousness of the situation.
Set Up
A group of high school friends determine an opening to get laid by the women of their dreams by purchasing them their desired alcohol. To accomplish this, they must rely on their awkward friend Fogell and his disaster of a phony ID. When their initial attempt fails in an over the top fashion, we go on a hell of a journey to see these friends get some alcohol to the party in one piece. Teenagers around the world could probably relate to the hassle of illegally purchasing alcohol with I think contributed to why the film was such a hit. Nobody in real life probably experienced this in such spectacular fashion...but...y'know, a very entertaining thing to center a teen comedy around.
All these four schmucks want to do is send one of their own into married life with a bang via a night in Vegas, but after that brilliant wolf pack speech they got themselves into way more than they bargained for. What I loved about this movie is the mystery aspect they introduced for it, we discover their drunken escapades right along with them and are left guessing just what the hell happened and where the hell their friend ended up. What a hilarious scene that kicked the whole thing into gear too, if that didn't let us know we were in for a hell of a ride, I don't know what would have.
Laughs
This movie had me busting up at several moments, again I loved pretty much any time Rogen, Hader, and Mintz-Plasse were on screen together...they played so well off of one another. The first party Hill and Cera attended had some funny moments as well, that period on the pants bit was gold. My favorite bit though had to be was Rogen's and Hader's reactions to decking Hill with their police car, how they wanted to handle it was both disturbing and hilarious at the same time and made for some great comedy. A lot of the comedy here came from uncomfortable moments, and it's taken me a while to get used to that sort of comedy but I dug it here.
Is it just me, or did the laughs not stop throughout this whole damn movie? Galifianakis owned his role as Alan has to be one of the best comedy characters in recent years, you love him and you are confused by his eccentricities at the same time just like his friends seem to be. Ed Helms' 'Doug' song also had me rolling, am I alone here? Tyson and Ken Jeong also supplied some of the biggest laughs, and on Tyson's part it sort of caught me off guard, in a very good way. Interestingly enough, the bit that got the biggest laugh out of me? The documented evidence from the nights events...those who have seen the film know why...that last bit blew my mind.
Climax
The conclusions for Cera's and Hill's characters were entertaining enough, if not unbelievable uncomfortable...but a lot of what they went through the whole film was pretty cringe worthy. The result I dug was how the journey for McLovin ended, loved the speech from Rogen and Hader explaining that cops know how to unwind and they wanted to relive that carefree lifestyle through McLovin, and the hilarity that followed that for those three. It seemed like the best way to go for all the characters and I dug what they learned about themselves and each other by the end of it all.
By the end of it all, to think that the whole film could have been avoided if the schmucks had retraced their steps back to where the night began is hilarious to me. The movie went for twists and turns that actually worked and added to the hilarity of it all. If everything that came before the big reveal wasn't as over the top as it was I think I would have been disappointed with the results, but thankfully that wasn't the case the whole thing was just so damn ridiculous until we find out where Doug had been.
Overall
Superbad was such a fun ride, and now years after its release it brings back memories both of experiencing things like this and being afraid to lose friends that you made memories like this with. The movie has heart, and because I understand that urge to hold on to your friends is why Jonah Hill's character annoys me a little less now...which sort of pulled me out of the experience on the first viewing. But all in all the film holds up as one of the best comedies of the decade, McLovin stands as one of my favorite comedic characters in recent memory.
Been paying attention to the rating system of course, you know The Hangover has taken victory by a landslide, I knew going in this would be the verdict. The Hangover has heart itself, but I think it's a bit more understated than that of Superbad, it was touching to see Alan's desire to be one of the boys and seeing everything that happens to see the rest of the boys accept him in his previously imagined "wolf pack." On top of that, the film had more of the laughs that came from hilarious scenarios rather than uncomfortable scenarios. The Hangover was brilliant alcohol-related rendition of an 'Odyssey' type story.
The Hangover
There you have it folks, seemed to have a Hangover bias here...but in all honesty Superbad is equal to The Hangover on many levels...but Hangover brought that entertainment factor up a few notches. The cast was full of win, the comedy was full of win, and the ending was full of win. The fact that the sequel was basically a rehash of the first with a different setting is a unfortunate testament to how well this formula worked. Hopefully Hangover III brings something new to the table. But back to the issue at hand, do you agree with this verdict? Or do you fancy Superbad more? Let us know!

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which comedy film is your favorite?
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