The extremes of teen angst were on display during last weekend’s pop-culture onslaught in the forms of Disney heartthrob Zac Efron and the Superbad duo of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. Hollywood breathed easier as tweeners everywhere either tuned in to the Disney Channel’s summer-lovin’ sequel High School Musical 2 or left the safety of their homes to sneak into the R-rated summer-McLovin comedy Superbad.
Now that I’ve seen both, it’s surprising how the underlying emotions of both stories are the same, namely the tensions that arise in adolescents when college looms and the quest for new experiences threatens friendships. High School Musical 2 handles it with a rainbow-colored cast of smiling, singing and dancing wind-up dolls with their eyes beaming upward, while Superbad revels in the sputtering humiliations of foulmouthed outcasts with porn-addled eyes affixed firmly toward the groin. (Cera sings in Superbad too, of course, but under hilarious duress in a den of zonked-out partiers.) Both stories inevitably reach admittedly poignant moments of renewed solidarity between chums and a greater understanding of differences. Maybe someday a bridge will be forged between the kids who prefer their entertainment squeaky clean and those who can’t wait to repeat the many insanely imaginative profanity-enriched lines in Superbad to their friends. My favorite: Hill’s bewailing lament, “I suck dick at fucking pussy.”
In fact, since the Disney Channel was smart enough to run a special sing-along airing of High School Musical 2 over the weekend — with lyrics at the bottom of the screen, or downloadable on the Internet — why not appropriate the idea when Superbad makes its cable debut? A swear-along version!
Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes