Sunday, October 07, 2007

Knocked Up: Grade B


Knocked Up (2007)

Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd. Writer & Director: Judd Apatow.

This movie, especially the first half, demonstrates or discusses in detail every possible body product, from semen to sputum, farts to urine, blood, sweat, tears, and others too numerous to mention. I don’t think anything was omitted. There must have been a comprehensive master list somewhere. Anatomy discussions are restricted to the body parts you would expect for someone with a mental age of 10. This is more than uninteresting, it’s downright depressing for what it implies about the psychological development of American moviegoers. I almost did not get through the first hour, but the last half picks up when the central theme turns slightly more toward adult relationships, marriage, and issues of trust and self-disclosure. The basic story is that Heigl’s character goes out on a drinking binge and ends up in the sack with a dorky, nerdy loser guy (Rogen) who gets her pregnant. Even with an alcohol crazed brain, the character’s actions are not believable, but that’s the story. Then it’s a matter of the two of them building a relationship of necessity. Mann and Rudd play bickering married neighbors who alternately frighten and support the protagonists. Rogen’s gang of childish, deadbeat friends retard his psychological development but he eventually breaks free. All this would be no more than an exercise juvenile pandering except that, amazingly, the writing, acting, and directing are outstanding. If you can ignore the tedious body function topics, you find that the script is often intellectually sophisticated and socially subtle. The face and voice acting are wide-ranging, well-integrated with the dialog, and completely believable. Even members of the dimwitted gang of loser nerds often have socially attuned, deliciously ironic lines. The doctor who delivers the baby is a gem of a character. Even the DVD outtakes and other extras are wonderful. It is a terrible waste to burn up all that talent on jokes about farts and blowjobs, but the movie business is what it is.

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