'Superbad': As American as Apple Pie and Porn

It's a story as American as apple pie — and amateur pornography.

Three high school seniors try to lubricate the categorically awkward entry into young adulthood with alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol. Seriously, like a couple cases of beer, some wine coolers, hard lemonade, that liquor with the gold flakes in it, even some thick, blue laundry detergent.

All of the above make an appearance in the new movie "Superbad," along with a 2½-minute-long medley of phallic portraits that should only horrify — by the film's own count — 92 percent of the population.

"It's a fine line between emotion and filth," said Seth Rogen, the movie's co-writer, co-star and co-executive producer.

Director might have been part of that list of titles had it not been for an unlikely twinge of self-doubt in Rogen and fellow writer Evan Goldberg.

"There were times throughout the years when me and Evan were offered the opportunity to direct the movie for much less money. … But, we thought, 'We could direct it, but I bet there's a guy out there — a guy who can really visually bring it to life in a way we couldn't conceive of.'"

That guy ended up being Greg Mottola, a real director with real connections to a number of the producers, writers and cast members on the shoot.

"Greg just did things we never would have thought of," Rogen said. "Thank God we didn't direct it!"

Mottola is a veteran of the Judd Apatow comic mafia, which has since 2004 brought "Anchorman," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up." The director's connection to Rogen comes through Apatow's ill-fated sitcom "Undeclared." Mottola directed six of that series' 16 episodes.

Apatow is listed as a producer in the credits of "Superbad," but his signature is less obvious than in the earlier films.

"We're willing to go just a little further dirtiness-wise, than maybe Judd would be comfortable with," Rogen said. "But, at the end of the day, there's never been anything we can't resolve."

The real stars of "Superbad," though, are an unholy trinity of young actors, just two of whom you've heard of and seen before. The third is a newcomer named Chris Mintz-Plasse, but as even those who've only seen the trailer know, as a mono-monikered dynamo named McLovin, he is, in truth, the cinematic equivalent of Pele.

"Chris Mintz-Plasse!" Rogen howled at the mention of McLovin.

It's hard to blame him for being excited. There is not a fraternity in America that will not name at least one pledge each semester after the bespectacled wannabe playboy.

"He's just amazing. He came in [to audition] and was just great," Rogen said, telling the story of how Mintz-Plasse earned his spot alongside more seasoned comedians Jonah Hill — a contemporary of Rogen — and Michael Cera, who played George-Michael on "Arrested Development."

"And what's funny is, Jonah actually hated him after the audition," Rogen said. "He walked out and Jonah was like, 'I hate that kid. Don't cast that kid. I'm not working with that kid.' And that's when we decided, 'That's the kid!'"

It's easy to feel the comic contempt Hill reserves for McLovin during their time together on screen. It is, like much of the movie's dialogue, profanely real.

Rogen said the casting team did its best to carry that honest vibe over to the basic appearance of the cast.

"There are a lot of movies where these, like, 30-year-olds play high school guys," Rogen said. "We just didn't want that. … It was important to us that it look real."

And how could it not be? Rogen and co-writer Goldberg wrote the first draft of the script when they were about 14 years old. For the record, that means the first writing of "Superbad" was completed more than a couple years before Jason Biggs mounted his kitchen counter for a certain semi-iconic tryst.

Nothing quite so bizarre happens in "Superbad," which might explain the bewilderment Rogen feels about why it took so long for the movie to get made.

"We were shocked that it took so long," Rogen said. "We though it was the simplest, most relatable movie ever, in a weird way. We wrote it with the intent of it being very commercial and relatable. But, when we tried to sell it, people were like, 'Are you guys crazy? You can't do this stuff.'"

Concerns about the response from the Motion Picture Association of America, which decides on movie ratings, were as much an impediment to making the film as anything else.

"I'm sure if we wanted to make a PG-13 movie, we could have made it in 2000, when we originally started trying," Rogen said. "But we always knew that was not the way to make this movie. I mean, you can't even show underage kids drinking in a PG-13 movie, really."

"But that's just exactly what we did every single weekend, really … was just try to get alcohol to impress women," Rogen said, implying that filth and reality are not mutually exclusive characteristics in film, or modern life.

The proof, as it must be, is in the picture. No amount of apple pie-humping will ever compare with McLovin's simple two-word acknowledgment of his first true sexual experience.