Why Booksmart Feels So Similar To Superbad


In the years since John Hughes arguably carved out the high school movie as its own unique genre, many have risen to the challenge of creating iconic movies to define specific eras. Superbad very much did that when it hit theaters back in 2007, and it did so by taking DNA from films like Dazed and Confused and melding it with a Judd Apatow-style comedy focusing on friendship.

Now, Olivia Wilde is doing the same with her directorial debut, Booksmart. In fact, as producer David Distenfeld explained to CinemaBlend and other outlets during a visit to the film’s set earlier this year, the comparisons to Superbad make a lot of sense because the movie focuses on a friendship set against the backdrop of a crazy evening. The producer said:

In terms of the Superbad comparison, it's that friendship. Yes, there was all that craziness going around Michael [Cera] and Jonah [Hill], but friendship is what the movie is about. As much as they go through that crazy night, the friendship of these two girls is really what sort of grounds it.

So, it sounds like we can generally expect Booksmart to go to some pretty wild places when it finally premieres. The movie is aiming to heighten reality in a very similar way that Superbad did, but it’s also going to do so while anchoring the narrative in the friendship of two lovable characters.

Viewing a project like Booksmart through that lens, producer David Distenfeld seems to think the comparison to Superbad is actually fairly apt.

Of course, Superbad is not the only film that features this type of structure or narrative style in the creation of a high school movie. Despite the similarities between Superbad and Booksmart, it’s also worth noting that films like American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused have similarly employed the one-wild-night structure in the creation of legendary high school movies.

Superbad just happens to feel like one of the most apt comparisons because it specifically focuses on a pair of awkward teens making their way through a raunchy, hard-R night.

Booksmart centers on two young, intelligent girls on their last day of high school. Upon coming to the realization that they have squandered their four years focusing on academics and not paying attention to the social scene, they set out to have one wild night before graduation.

CinemaBlend will bring you more information related to Booksmart as new details about the film are made available to us. Keep it here for more updates related to Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, and head on over to our movie premiere guide to read up on all of the films that will hit the big screen before the end of the year.

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.