Thursday, June 07, 2007

Knocked Up (2006)

I have never wanted to have children. Knocked Up, despite having a trajectory that lends it a sort of family values sheen, only solidified that decision. Because really: if you (hot blonde-type Katherine Heigl with your lucrative onscreen career at E!) accidentally got preggers during a drunken one-night-stand with a jobless pot-smoking overweight sarcastic guy with constant 3-day stubble, wouldn’t you do your damndest to fold him into your family unit?

Of course, it’s a movie, and the guy’s Seth Rogan (from Freaks and Geeks), and even though you know you belong to a different rung of the dating ladder you’re going to give his deadpan sardonic charm a fair shot. Which is what is kind of great about this movie—it doesn’t pretend Rogan’s a heartthrob, but he is the leading man. That, in itself, is enough to make me like the film on principle. Like me, Judd Apatow (who worked with Rogan on the aforementioned show and cast him in The 40 Year Old Virgin) watched him and decided he should be used more. Thanks goodness, too; this movie basically expands on the best bits from Apatow’s previous film—Rogan and friends sitting around bullshitting about pop culture—and leaves out the more predictable humor and societal unease about sexuality.

Which isn’t to say the movie’s not conventional, or edgy, or vulgar, or sweet. It’s all of those things, with a cherry of dubious family stability on top. Abortion’s not really an option, but neither are we told this experiment in cross-clique breeding is going to be successful. The film’s model of marriage—Heigl’s sister and her husband, played by Apatow’s wife Leslie Mann and my personal favorite Paul Rudd—is a tar pit of frustration and mutual mistrust and snark. Both of the parents-to-be make mistakes, but also make compromises. Apatow says he wants to make films that look more or less like real life, and Rogan’s non-acting style perfectly suits it. Romantic comedies are rarely this raw or this funny, and that might be because as in life, romance gets the short end of the stick. Maybe that’s why it’s possible for people to walk away from it with completely opposing designs towards procreation, as many of my female friends prove; you come out with what you brought in, but with your stomach sore from laughing.

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