Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Knocked Up" review


I've been busy working on a script, which is a good thing. Although it takes me away from the blog, it means I've broken through the crippling writer's block that shut me down for a couple of months. Anyway, I saw "Knocked Up" last Friday and loved it. Immediately after the movie, I wrote this review.

Of all the tings I expected from Judd Apatow’s wonderful movie, “Knocked Up”, the one thing I did not see coming was the emotional honesty at the core of the film. Between all of the dick jokes and the hundreds of times the work “fuck” is used (to comic genius effect), this really is a movie about people connecting and a movie about love. Not just the love between man and woman (and the complexities of love), but also love between friends and love between a parent and their child. In many ways, the film reminded me of Apatow’s classic series, “Freaks and Geeks” (for which he was the producer, writer and occasional director). The humor tempered the pathos in such an organic way; the film did not feel like your run of the mill romantic comedy. Instead, it felt like a slice of reality. There were several moments when I was near tears in laughter, and others when I was near tears because of the emotional depth the characters all had. Apatow has said that Hal Ashby’s movies were models for the type of movie he wants to make. You can clearly see that in “Knocked Up”, which is a far more adult film that his previous gem, “The 40 Year Old Virgin”.

There are so many hilarious moments in the movie that to recount them would be a disservice to it. I should point out that Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are sensational as a married couple with two children who are going through a rough time in their marriage. These two obviously love each other; they have just hit a bump in the road and are having a difficult time expressing that love. In addition, Apatow’s daughters (he is married to Mann) play the children of Rudd and Mann. They steal every scene they are in. Seth Rogan has such a lovable quality to him in this movie that you’re rooting for him, even when he’s fucking up. And I am really impressed with Katharine Heigel. She is a very talented actress and once she hangs up the scrubs from “Grey’s Anatomy”, she should have a nice career in films.

I can’t say enough about the script and the direction, though. Apatow has such a smooth touch; you really don’t feel like you’re watching a movie. He has created characters that seem like the guys and girls you hang out with at your house on the weekend. Each scene feels natural and real. He is now in a position, after two excellent and successful films, to do pretty much what he wants. I hope that he continues to make films like this one, character driven comedies that tale a slice out of life and make it accessible to everyone.

At the very end, when the baby is being delivered (and we get a money shot that rivals Ben Stiller’s ball sac in a zipper from “There’s Something About Mary”), I was getting choked up. You never forget what it’s like being in the hospital the day your child is born. It is the most exhilarating and wonderful feeling in the world. I will admit that I felt some sadness watching these characters deliver birth naturally. I wish that Julie would have had that experience. Both of the kid’s deliveries were traumatic and stressful. But what are you going to do. As the film says, “Life doesn’t follow any plans. You have to roll with it.”

Great movie all around. I may have to see it again because I was laughing through so many scenes.

Ironically, after I finished writing this, I checked TCM to see what was on (a Rockstar drink will do that to you). "Harold & Maude" was airing, so of course, I watched it.

2 comments:

Py Korry said...

The reviews of this movie have generally been quite good. I loved Freaks and Geeks, and thought the 40 Year Old Virgin was pretty damn funny. However, for some reason, I haven't been interested in seeing this film. But after your glowing review, I'll have to check it out.

Jason said...

I'm with you all the way, Scott. The movie was so honest to me that it made me a little uncomfortable, for reasons I have yet to figure out. (Somebody find me a therapist.) Loved Rudd, loved Mann, and especially loved Heigl, who was just so unbelievably real in every single scene. She didn't play the comedy at all - just stayed true to the character. Great flick.