Knocked Up

While watching the comedy Knocked Up with my mother and mother-in-law, (it was there first time to see the film), it is clear that the film has something to offer all people of all ages and generations.  Both moms were in tears in certain places in the film, watching classic situations concerning the subject of being pregnant and reminiscing about their pregnancies, reminding me what great films often do.  They allow us to escape reality for a moment and laugh, cry, and think back on the good memories that have been made in life.  And at the core of Knocked Up, the comedy is countered with heart, soul, and life that is constantly evolving or changing, as Seth Rogen’s character Ben says at one point “Life doesn’t care about your plans.” The classic comical formula of rude and crude poo-poo jokes countered with a sub-par, mediocre plot or story seen in most comedies is not the case here.  This film manages to achieve something that most comedies miss the mark on, and that is balancing the crude and rude punch lines with the story of the characters that deliver the punches, and in this film the punches are hysterically funny!

The film’s main characters, Seth Rogen’s Ben and Katherine Heigl’s Allison, are complete opposites that manage to attract after delving into a night of celebrating a promotion with drunken debauchery.  The effect is a one night stand that finds Ben and Allison having unprotected sex, thus the miracle of life begins.  The next morning, the aftermath of what happened is vaguely clear as Allison is standing over a naked, unattractive Ben shaking her head and Ben is just happy and excited that he of all people actually had sex with a hot chick.  Over breakfast it is clear that these characters are complete opposites.  Allison is the successful, working woman working at E! entertainment, getting promoted and contributing to society.  Ben is the classic twenty-something loser, floating through life not paying taxes and surviving on a fourteen thousand dollar law suit that up to this point has sustained him, as he explains to Allison, “I’m not poor, I eat a lot of spaghetti.”  This causes concern and pause for Allison who clearly wants nothing more to do with the unattractive, unmotivated Ben.

Fast forward a couple of months, and we find Allison ill one morning while interviewing actor James Franco, just one cameo that presents a comical moment throughout the film .  She comes to the realization that she may be pregnant, and after taking a few dozen pregnancy tests with her sister Debbie, the equally funny Leslie Mann, she discovers that she is in fact pregnant and the one night stand with Ben has yielded some disastrous results.  After setting up a dinner meeting and announcing the news to her counterpart, Ben reacts with equal shock and awe that he of all people is going to be a father.  This catapults the plot forward as Ben and Allison both decide to keep the baby and try their luck at a relationship.

Judd Apatow, the director and writer of the riotously funny, The Fourty Year Old Virgin, approaches serious, taboo subjects like virginity or unplanned pregnancy  with unabashed honesty and God forbid humor and it works like a charm. There are so many classic one liners or comedic scenes, one finds himself starting to miss other comic lines or moments because of uncontrollable laughing.  Take for instance a collection of scenes involving Ben and Allison meeting with gynecologists before the big day.  Each eccentric doctor manages to address a certain issue that comes about while being examined while addressing the general knowledge of the discomfort and creepiness that women face visiting a gynecologist.  Whether it is a doctor hitting on the woman while spread eagle, or a doctor mistaking which hole to visit, the point is taking and the audience can’t help but laugh and say, “Yeah I’ve been through that!”

The supporting characters themselves like Ben’s four roomates(Jonah Hill, Jason Segal, Jay Baruchel, and Martin Starr) offer up the crude and rude behavior that is attributed to Appatow’s writing and the actors’ great delivery.  I often wondered how these characters manage to say certain lines in a scene without laughing and the director yelling cut.  And, Paul Rudd is hysterical as Debbie’s laid back husband Pete He is a tutor to the young Ben offering up advice to saying, “Marriage is like an unfunny episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, but it doesn’t last twenty-two minutes, it lasts forever.”

Knocked Up is rated R for its language, behavior, and subject matter, but the message of the movie is not lost through the F-bombs and fart jokes.  The message is that when your busy making other plans or living your dreams or vision, life occurs and takes you for a loop.  How you handle the situation like unplanned pregnancy, is up to you.  You can either be depressed about the wrench that has been thrown in, or like Ben and Allison, try your luck at meeting the challenge and hopefully laugh about it!


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