Super: Dark Humor and Inappropriate Boners
Super is like the Troma version of Kick-Ass, and I mean that as both a compliment and an insult. It takes all the dark impulses beneath the childish dorkdom of superhero fascination that Kick-Ass hinted at and amplifies them to the point where they’re no longer just hints, sometimes blunt to the point of boneheadedness. It’s also much lower-budget and amateurish, which either gives it a DIY charm or makes it harder to sit through, depending on your perspective (I say a little of both). But I use the Troma-does-Kick-Ass shorthand for myself, as a way to help me understand it, not as a way to describe the original pitch (HURRR, PETER PAN BY WAY OF THE DARK KNIGHT). That alone is enough to put it above most movies. It’s refreshing when a film actually needs simplification.
Also, Ellen Page gave me an inappropriate erection.
Rainn Wilson stars as Frank D’Arbo, a schlubby (of course), uninteresting short order cook whose only joys in life are his too-hot-for-him wife played by Liv Tyler and the memory of the time he helped cops catch a purse snatcher, both events chronicled in child-like crayon drawings taped to the wall of his crappy apartment. Beyond that, his schlubby life has been one of schlubbiness, disappointment, and shame, as illustrated by a childhood flashback in which bullies humiliate him and pee on his face, and by that I mean they literally urinate on his face (Troma vets like James Gunn tend to take the direct approach). I read a review of Kick-Ass a while back that questioned why we were supposed to buy handsome teenager Aaron Johnson as the outcast* (“uh, because he has curly hair, and… too many layers of shirts?”). To its credit, Super‘s protagonist is a true outcast, a doughy, over-the-hill, piss-faced loser who looks like he could use a little escapism.