Superbad (2007) Screenplay Analysis

Superbad (2007), written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, is a defining comedy movie of the 2000s. Let’s analyze the screenplay.

Script Formatting Notes

  • Draft Read: July 20, 2006
  • Type: Spec
  • Page Count:
  • Reading Speed: 116
  • Setting(s): Unspecified City/Suburb
  • Plot Structure: Linear, Spanning multiple months
  • Genre(s): Coming-of-age, Comedy
  • Theme(s): Drugs, Sex, Friendship
  • Protagonist Change: Significant

Overall Thoughts

When you read a script like Superbad, you realize how strong the actors’ performances in the film were. Truly perfect casting for many, if not all, of the roles. And while many of the jokes were added later, the general structure and plot were right on the money.

Script Strengths

Relatability. The story follows two nerds who want to get with girls. Even if you can’t relate to the leads, you can relate to their struggles, because they’re pretty universal for a teenager.

Script Neutrals

The female supporting cast is not particularly deep. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the film centers on the two leading guys, but it does add to the problematic premise, which is explained below.

Script Weaknesses

The premise is dated. Please see the Plot section below.


Two nerdy high school friends bring alcohol to a party so that the girls they like will both like them, get drunk, and sleep with them. The problem there is of course the get drunk plan, as it involves drugging women and rape. This is a disaster premise in the post-Me Too era, and it’s pretty surprising it was greenlit even in 2007. Shoutout to my friend for pointing this out when we discussed the movie.


The character inter-dynamics are unique. Seth and Evan are the two leads and Fogell/McLovin essentially carries the subplot. McLovin is the breakout character and has a pretty clear character arc. Interestingly, when the stories reconnect as the trio enter the house party (Act 3), they immediately diverge, thus creating a rather weak climax. And that may be the biggest issue with the plot. Because of this, McLovin comes through with the alcohol, yet ends on relatively bad terms with Seth and Evan.

Dialogue & Pacing

The dialogue, more or less, felt emotionally neutral. In other words, while there certainly was some conflict, it didn’t feel weighted or particularly intense from an outsider’s perspective. With that said, the themes here are teenager-oriented themes, so perhaps age allows one to see them as just that; mostly irrelevant. Interestingly, Jonah Hill, when playing Seth, chose to display a lot of anger; shouting many of his lines. And I think his general stressed/sexually deprived demeanor made the movie that much better.

The pacing is a bit slower in the first half of the screenplay. This is partly due to experimentation with various comedic devices (wrong term, I know). For example, there are a number of fantasy scenes in which Seth (underage) attempts to buy alcohol and imagines the consequences (Pages 32-32). Is this sequence funny? Somewhat. But regardless, it, along with the other comedic sidetracks, slows down the story.

Emotional Impact

While there are practical life tips to be learned from this movie, there are deeper messages as well. This culminates with Seth and Evan having a sleepover and recommitting to their friendship. It’s relatively deep for a coming-of-age comedy.

Best Part of The Script

Any scene with McLovin.