Hollywood’s New Idea is Remaking ‘Superbad’ Over and Over

This week, the trailers for Booksmart and Good Boys went live on the internet. The former is a high school comedy about two socially awkward girls hoping to cut loose at a high school party. The latter concerns three socially awkward middle school boys trying to figure out the intricacies of kissing and the mystery of fitting in with cool kids. Both are predicated on the comic potential of adolescent awkwardness.

They also look a lot like Superbad, only flipped for gender and age.

Superbad writer and supporting actor Seth Rogen produced Good Boys. Based on the trailer, it looks like Superbad in middle school form—the boys are obsessed with kissing, discover sex toys and even have a funny run in with a cop in a convenience store. It almost feels like a prequel about the hijinks McLovin & company got into before their one black friend moved out of town. Broadly, it’s like Superbad in sixth grade.

Booksmar, stars Beanie Feldstein, the sister of Superbad star Jonah Hill. The girls’ ages match up with more closely with Superbad, and the plot—buttoned-up, socially cloistered high school seniors awkwardly pursue sex and drugs during the last throes of a tight high school friendship—seems nearly identical. It’s not a perfect parallel—Booksmart’s LGBT plotline is entirely unique, for example—but you’re still not wrong to describe the trailer as Superbad with girls nonetheless.

Booksmart will surely mine humor from female sexuality and orientation. Good Boys’ defining factor will be watching tween actors wade through adult content. But in total, their similarities are greater than their differences—both trailers even used DJ Shadow’s “Nobody Speaks” featuring Run the Jewels, apparently the new anthem for good kids going bad.

It’s easy to see why filmmakers want to repeat Superbad. Kids will always enjoy watching other kids fuck around, get into trouble, learn about sex and deal with everyday life. Making the main characters awkward creates opportunities for humor. The plot, awkward teens suffer misadventures and examine their friendship en route to a wild, cool kids party, is too basic for copyright protection. So maybe we should look forward to dozens of more variations on Superbad to come.

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