Superbad is a study in teenage awkwardness, a nod to just how embarrassing it is to be an adolescent on a daily basis.
We laugh at the jokes because we can identify with the characters because we were the characters.
That's part of the joy of the performances from Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Evan, Seth and Fogell and, as this video shows, those performances were superb from the very beginning.
Usually, there's a good reason why the audition videos for acting roles go unseen by the public, but as these tapes that have come to light show, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera - who weren't far away from the characters in age when they got the roles - were on their A game from day one.
Cera was just 19 when the film came out, while Christopher Mintz-Plasse was still 17 - so young, in fact, that in his sex scene, his mother was required to be on set.
A recent New Yorker article with Superbad casting director Allison Jones shows just how much of an impression the trio left on her. Jones knew the source material inside out: the semi-autobiographical Superbad was part-written by Seth Rogen, whom she herself had cast as a teenager in the seminal 90s TV show Freaks & Geeks, so she was well aware of who the teenage character of Seth was.
When she saw Jonah Hill, she described him as 'weird and hilarious', which was enough to convince producer Judd Apatow to give him a chance in the role. Cera was picked based on his stellar performances as the most awkward of teens in Arrested Development, leaving only the role of Fogell/McLovin to fill.
Credit: Columbia Pictures
According to the New Yorker, Jones posted notices seeking high-school students in L.A.
After seeing thousands of candidates, she caught a glimpse of a camera-phone head shot sent in by a sixteen-year-old named Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
She called the director, Greg Mottola, and excitedly said, "I think I found McLovin; he's like Dill from 'To Kill a Mockingbird'."
The rest, of course, is history. For Jonah Hill, it was a star-making performance that has seen him become one of the best-paid actors in the world.
For Cera, it cemented him as one of the finest comedy actors working in Hollywood, earning him starring roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and countless other big budget features.
For Christopher Mintz-Plasse, well: he's not gone on to the superstardom of the other two, but still appears regularly in films and TV, with notable performances in Kick Ass, Neighbors and sitcom The Great Indoors.
Featured Image Credit: Columbia Pictures