With this film and The
40-Year-Old Virgin as well as with his cult TV series Freaks and
Geeks and Undeclared writer/director Judd Apatow has made a
bit of a specialty niche for himself. Apatow is better than almost
anyone in Hollywood at merging the teen gross-out sex comedy with the chick
flick. We have farting, drugs, tits and pubic hair jokes for the guys.
Then, there is romance, discussions of feeling and cute kids for the gals.
Everybody wins. It's the perfect date movie concoction.
However, unlike Virgin,
in Knocked Up, Apatow strays a little too far into the chick flick
direction. All things considered, despite all the bells and whistles,
this is an opposites-attract love story and more to the point a love song
to act of parenthood.
Knocked Up is pretty good, but it's no 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Of course, in one way,
Knocked Up is the perfect guy movie, because it suggests that if you get
lucky and you get her drunk enough, a guy like Ben (Seth Rogen) could not
only chat up a built-for-speed, career-track glamour girl like Alison
(Katherine Heigl) at a bar, but actually take her home. It seems like
science fiction that a chubby, curly haired, unemployed guy would not get
shot down immediately or eclipsed by a more shiny guy. Then have sex
with her? And eventually a relationship? Even if she was
celebrating getting her dream job as a reporter for E! Entertainment
Television, and had way too much to drink that just isn't happening.
As a guy who is much more on the Rogen looks scale than the Heigl scale, I say good for him
but I don't
really believe it as anything but a fantasy for a second.
Of course, there is a
complication. The drunken one-night stand gets her pregnant. In
a very PC short-lived debate, abortion is quickly dispensed of (there would
be no story otherwise) and the two decide to get to know each other and have
the baby together.
Therefore they have an
additional huge pressure on the relationship beyond the fact that they
essentially have nothing in common and (sorry to say it, but let's face it,
it's true) she's way too good for him.
Ben is played by Rogen
who seems to be Apatow's go-to guy, appearing in everything which the
director has done including Virgin, Freaks and Undeclared.
This film is packed with actors from Apatow's old shows and movies, but
that's cool I like it when a director gets a troupe of actors they prefer
to work with. Ben's slob roommates are played by Martin Starr (who was
in Freaks and Geeks), Jay Baruchel (who was in Undeclared) and
Jason Segel (who was in both Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared.)
James Franco of Freaks and Loudon Wainwright III of Undeclared
also do cameos. Wainwright also contributed the soundtrack.
However, this is Rogen's
first gig as the lead and honestly he's a little more useful as a supporting
actor. Not that he isn't charming and doesn't have a great
self-depreciating sense of humor, it just seems like he works better as the
guy who comes in and tells a great joke then bows out rather than being the
Heigl (of Gray's Anatomy)
can easily hold her own as a lead, however. She is beautiful and
charming and funny and has the right sense of moodiness. Shockingly,
even better is Leslie Mann (Apatow's wife) as her older sister, a neurotic
who both loves and hates her husband (Paul Rudd of 40-Year-Old Virgin),
fears aging and craves attention.
In a strange irony, there
are a couple of scenes in which Alison's bosses at E!TV try to skirt around
the suggestion that she needs to lose weight by suggesting she try
"tightening" her body. At over two-hours long for what is essentially
a light romantic comedy, Apatow should have taken his own advice and
tightened his movie. While much of Knocked Up is funny, there
is no way it needed to be so long. Several strategic cuts of
superfluous scenes mostly of Ben's wacky roommates and some of the baby
stuff (like a scene where they sit in an obstetrician's office with all
sorts of small babies in their mother's laps in a calculated attempt to get
women to say awwww) would be much appreciated.
By the time the actual
birth takes place complete with the all-too-predictable complication of
the umbilical chord getting wrapped around the baby's neck and the also
clichιd scene where the determined natural-childbirth advocate mom begs for
an epidural when the contractions hit I was looking at my watch.
I've seen variations on this scene way too often in my life. There are
also a couple of completely gratuitous stock shots of a baby's head crowning
out of a vagina. I'm no prude and I do recognize the miracle of
childbirth, but that is appropriate for a personal home video, not a
However, even with its
flaws, Knocked Up is definitely worth seeing. Doubly so on a
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: June 23, 2007.