I watched Superbad tonight with my Brazilian roommate, Rafael. The first time I saw it, I laughed so hard that I missed a lot of jokes and earned the hatred of the person sitting behind me in the theater. It's one of the DVDs in my rotation and one of the movies that I'll always stop on when channel surfing. In short, it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.
Apparently the awkwardness-as-high-comedy thing doesn't really translate well. I'm not sure if it's the language barrier or lack of being able to relate to the US high school / college experience or lack of prior exposure to Michael Cera, but I think I was the only one in the room laughing 99% of the time. Kinda disappointing. But, for most action / drama movies, there probably isn't as much of a gap. Something about comedy is just so cultural / contextual - getting a joke requires a lot more than appreciating an explosion. I'm sure there are some hilarious Brazilian comedies I wouldn't get even if I spoke Portuguese. Maybe Rafael would appreciate Superbad more if I told him more about what high school / college are like in the US? Or maybe if I just gave him a thesaurus of terms used for male genitalia. Probably the latter.