Reel Shorts | Knocked Up

31 05 2007

For more than 15 years, writer/director Judd Apatow has put his twisted, dark contemporary humor on display. On the heels of the surprise 2005 hit comedy, “The 40 Year Old Virgin,” Apatow goes from one extreme to the other in his latest film, “Knocked Up.”

Life is just one big party for Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) and his friends. Getting their drink or smoke on, playing juvenile games or just hanging out, Stone and his crew are just passing time. Unemployed, Stone and his friends are slackers whose career aspirations are creating a porn site that documents nude moments for actors in films.

On the other side of town, TV producer Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl) is working for the E Channel and is on the verge of a promotion. Allison is informed that she will exchange places, going from behind the scenes to network talent, she’s ecstatic. She invites her married sister, Debbie (Lesley Mann) for a celebration at a local club. Allison and Ben meet, and after several hours of dirty dancing and alcohol consumption, bad judgment takes over and the two do the dirty deed.

The morning after, Allison immediately realizes her “hookup” was a horrible idea and that the two have nothing in common. With a career change on her horizon, she thinks she’ll put this little episode behind her and go on with her life. Not so fast, because eight weeks later, she finds out that she’s pregnant and the one-night stand guy, Ben, is the baby’s daddy!

While initially it looks like a mismatch, soon Allison discovers that many of Ben’s childlike ways are a perfect compliment to her personality. Ben charmingly embraces Allison’s pregnancy and soon is winning her over. He gives it his best effort, but forces conspire against their happiness.

Where Ben and Allison are navigating their tenuous relationship, her sister, Debbie, and her sister’s husband, Pete (Paul Rudd), are struggling. Each pines for the glory days, and their interactions are full of comic misadventures.

Much like in “Virgin,” “Knocked Up” succeeds because Apatow understands that it’s not that bad things happen but that there is plenty of humor in life’s dark’s moments. He never drives a stern message to the audience that the situation is bad, Apatow simply mines every humorous moment he can throughout the entire nine-month birthing cycle.

Leave it to Apatow to find the comic ray of sunshine in a potentially sour situation. Although “Knocked Up” runs a little too long, the journey is hilariously fulfilling.

Grade: B+




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