Writer/director Judd Apatow's follow up to The 40 Year Old Virgin. With a penchant for the aptly titled, his second feature as director is about pot-headed oaf Ben (Seth Rogen) and hot, entertainment TV presenter Alison (Katherine Heigl), who find themselves expecting after a one night stand. ... More
Being both good people at heart, they try to make the situation work. This involves getting along with each other, and their respective 'families' - Ben's stoner friends, and Alison's blunt sister (Leslie Mann) and sister's detached husband (Paul Rudd).Hide
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BY Flicks Writer
Story: great pot-headed, lovable Ben gets lucky and one night scores out-of-his-league, hot entertainment TV presenter Alison. Inebriated copulation leads to impregnation. Ben and Alison, being both good people at heart, try to make this work.
So the film is situational in nature, and Apatow leaves his actors on loose reigns. That’s not to say it’s wayward or sloppy, rather it has the very appealing feel of being improvised. This creates a refreshing ‘casualness’ in each scene –moments are real, and funny (often both). It’s very pleasing to watch a comedy where the jokes spring naturally from the situation or character, and aren’t forced.
Whilst it doesn’t always avoid clichés and some moments are noticeably weaker, the overall effect makes for a distinctive mainstream comedy.
Seth Rogen (The 40 Year Old Virgin) as Ben and Katherine Heigl (from tv’s Grey’s Anatomy) as Alison, are an inspired choice for the lead roles. Rogen personifies the film’s tone; he’s relaxed, crude and has puppy dog eyes. Heigl has an extremely watch-able quality. She steals the show later in the film when frustrations boil over and she starts to rark shit up. One of the film’s most memorable scenes has the two on the way to a clinic, arguing full tilt in the car. This leads to a priceless confrontation during the check-up.
The support cast is also bang on – Ben’s friends (played by Rogen’s real life friends) are just like yours. Alison’s disapproving sister is played by Leslie Mann as a peculiar, control freak of a woman. Alison’s sisters’ husband is played by Paul Rudd – an extremely detached middle ager.
Without specifics, the ending is a good example of Judd Apatow’s (tv’s Freaks and Geeks, The 40 Year Old Virgin) fresh breath in mainstream comedy. How many Ben Stiller / Adam Sandler / Will Ferrell movies wimp out at the end? After hearty laughter they tack on a crap ending just to ‘conclude’, to tie it all up. You may as well leave ten minutes before it’s over. Knocked Up’s conclusion feels natural.
Apatow skillfully mixes the longing of a romantic comedy with some pretty frank relationship observations. I feel the latter owes much to the maligned, but underrated The Break-Up (with Jennifer Aniston & Vince Vaughn). That film is brutally honest in its depiction of the seeming impossibility of even communicating with the opposite sex, let alone dating them. While Knocked Up does this, it doesn’t push it nearly as dark as the The Break Up does, and finds a middle ground sure to please many a girl and boy.
Reviewed by Paul Scantlebury.
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A well-acted and watchable comedy which, given its massive sleeper success, will act as a barometer by which future comedies will undoubtedly be matched up against.
The atypical ebb and flow relationship dynamics of all Hollywood comedies are still there, but made less annoying by a frank and syrup-free approach.
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