Knocked Up, A Review

My Review: 9

Judd Apatow (the director of Knocked Up) does good work. I enjoyed Undeclared when it was on TV. I just ordered the DVD’s for Freaks and Geeks from my public library, because I have a feeling I will enjoy it. I thought the 40 Year Old virgin was an excellent and funny movie; that one was his directorial debut. Previously he had mainly written and produced. This week I went out to see his latest directorial entre, Knocked Up.

One of the things that made “Virgin” a good movie was its sensitive (relatively) treatment of a touchy subject. The movie made light of a delicate subject (a grown man’s persistent virginity) in a more or less kind way. And they managed to do this while simultaneously being raunchy and over the top, using a script replete with gay jokes, drug humor, sexual talk and other tasty, reprehensible tidbits.

Knocked Up follows this pattern in its own unique fashion. Seth Rogen stars in this film (he played the stock worker “Cal” in 40 Year Old Virgin) and does a wonderful job being intelligent, funny, and simple at the same time. Katherine Heigl (best known for playing Izzie Stevens on ABC’s Gray’s Anatomy) co-stars with Rogen as Allison, the female lead. The two meet up while partying at a club in LA and fall into bed together for a one night stand. Due to drunken miscommunication the birth control of choice fails and 8 weeks later vomiting induced anxiety precipitates a pregnancy test. Heigl passes – she’s going to have a baby.

The plot ensues as the two deal with forming a relationship necessary to bring a child into the world. Lifestyles, friendships and families all have to be integrated and / or dealt with. Strong performances by secondary characters in the film abound, notably Paul Rudd as Allison’s brother-in-law and Jason Segel as Rogen’s lecherous friend.

One of my favorite aspects of this film is the chemistry that Rudd and Rogen share on screen. As in the 40 Year Old Virgin, these two play off of each other magnificantly. It’s like watching a cheesy beach volleyball movie (anyone ever seen “Sideout”?) as one scene after another dishes up fantastic spike after fantastic spike. There’s awkward meetings and introductions, ‘shrooms in Vegas, delivery rooms… great scenes abound. And if your friends are anything like my friends then “You know how I know that you’re gay…?” has become a favorite part of your daily taunting and camraderie.

No offense is intended to the gay and bi-sexual community by the way; I say swing any way you like. But it was a funny scene.

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There was an interesting side play in this movie which I still haven’t settled in my mind. Obviously the two end up deciding to bring the child to term – the word “abortion” isn’t even really mentioned in the film. It’s talked around using the clever euphemism “shma-shmortion.” There is a general implication that Heigl’s character, upon seeing the heartbeat during an ultrasound is unable to consider any alternative to a full term pregnancy, but it’s just that: an implication.

Here’s what’s odd to me: they won’t touch abortion with a ten foot pole. It could be that someone (Apatow, the studio, ?) is firmly anti-abortion, but rather than alienate younger, liberal movie-goers they didn’t make an issue of it. Or they may be pro-choice but not wanted to alienate the conservative anti-choice crowd. Certainly the basic plot premise requires a full term pregnancy – it wouldn’t be much of a movie if they decide to abort 30 minute in. The post-abortion scene in Fast Times At Ridgemont High (Cameron Crowe rules) explored those emotions well enough in the mid-eighties. But it’s odd to me that they avoid it so much. I guess you can only handle so much controversy. Hmmm.

In any case, the movie was great. It was funny and enjoyable every single minute of every single scene. There are moments of great outrage (by which I mean they are outrageous in a great way.) And there are moments of supreme hilarity. And there are moments of tenderness and growth, which elevates this over the run-of-the-mill slapstick comedy. Apatow has delivered another fantastic comedy that does credit to the genre, and I am grateful… because it kicked ass.

For more facts and information including cast and credits, please see the Knocked Up page on one of my favorite websites, IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base.)

There are also many great reviews of this movie on Rotten Tomatoes, a great movie review aggregation site.

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