Sunday, July 29, 2007

Knocked Up (2006)

"He's playing fetch. With my kids. He is treating my kids like they're dogs."

Knocked Up on IMDB

Not as roaringly funny as I thought the next movie by Judd Apatow would be, but I happen to think that humbly funny, hairy, bumbling Seth Rogen is just about the cutest thing to happen to movies since Haley Joel Osment. So I watched Knocked Up in romantic-comedy mode and was quite satisfied with it; it was kind of similar to the sweeter parts of The 40 Year Old Virgin. (BTW, how awesome is it that platform-shoes guy from the latter movie got a nice big part in Knocked Up?) Basically, TV personality Katherine Heigl and aimless pothead Seth Rogen have a one-night stand that, because of miscommunication and extreme drunkenness, has consequences that surprise them but naturally don't surprise those of us who know the title of the movie. For the sake of their baby, they try to get to know one another and fit the unplanned pregnancy into their lives.

Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd, as Heigl's sister and brother-in-law trapped in a picket-fence life and a marriage fraught with tension, play That Couple. You know, the one we each have in our lives: the people you look at and then shudder, thinking, "God, I can NOT end up like them." It's spot-on. It's also a little bit scary because lots of people do end up that way. But Leslie Mann's shrill, narcissistic character is even sympathetic at times, far outreaching the hateful (and common) "shrew" stereotype even as it becomes painfully obvious why her husband might have a hard time enjoying his marriage. She's also very, very funny. Funnier still: the other side of the tracks, where Seth Rogen's slacker buddies build their all-nude-scenes-for-every-hot-actress-ever website and hurl hilarious epithets like "late John Lennon" at their friend who's growing a beard on a dare.

By now it's totally unoriginal to pick out the birth scene as the most memorable of the movie. But all I can say is, Knocked Up may do for unsafe sex what Jaws did for swimming. I mean, seriously. Ouch.

On the other hand, I love the way Apatow can combine sweetness with ridiculously funny and explicit humor that takes nothing away from the humanity of the characters. Like, how to have sex with a pregnant woman: underused but extremely fertile material for comedy. In Knocked Up, sex is part of life, neither an empty source of crude humor nor a mystical thing that happens in soft lighting and fades to black. I wish they hadn't made Seth Rogen shave his back though (I can't remember where I read this), because it would have made him that much more real. Hairy dudes have hairy backs. Hollywood should embrace that!

But besides the funny, and besides the romantic-comedy story arc that underlies the plot, this film hits where it hurts for anyone who is, or has been, a lost twenty-something. There's a universal anxiety being tapped into, here, about growing up, sacking up, and taking responsibility for the direction of your life.

In Summary: See it! I laughed not only because it was funny as hell, but because it's impossible not to identify with the messy lives and endearing neuroses of the characters.


Fletch said...

Great review. I really enjoyed the movie as well.

Good luck with the blog!

Kristen said...

Thanks for the good wishes!