Rated 3.0

The central characters are two brightly self-conscious, hormone-crazed and contrastingly geeky young guys—Seth (chunky Jonah Hill) and Evan (beguilingly gangly Michael Cera). Both are charmingly goofy kids staggering under the burdens of juvenile innocence combined with adult urges. A sometime-friend of both, the Über-nerd Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, in an exceptional debut) complicates the mix in several ways. The screenplay by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (note those first names) is sometimes too witty for its own good, and Greg Mottola’s direction is lackluster throughout. But Hill, Cera and Mintz-Plasse are engaging and effective in bridging the gaps in the script’s peculiar combinations of formulaic rowdiness and offbeat pathos. The overall result is both an indulgence and a critique of teen-male fantasies. Each of the three young guys gets an unexpectedly revealing night of reckoning with the girl of his current dreams, and the offbeat character-touches in the girlfriends add to the film’s array of small surprises.