Knocked Up (2007)

knocked up IMDb

Katherine Heigl being in this film really sours it for me. I have heard so many stories about what a bitch she is, and I find it really difficult not to let that opinion of her influence how I feel about her movies. It is funny because Mel Gibson can be as racist as he wants and it will never alter my love for Braveheart or Lethal Weapon, but this chick is a pain in the ass on set and I can’t stand the sight of her. It is a shame because I absolutely love nearly everything about this film except for her.

Heigl plays Alison Scott, a producer at E! News. While out with her sister, Debbie (Leslie Mann), celebrating her new promotion to on-air talent, Allison has a one night stand with chubby loser Ben Stone (Seth Rogen). To speed things up, he decides not to wear a condom and Alison ends up pregnant. For whatever reason, she decides to keep the baby and try and make a relationship with Ben work. The film shows the nine months of her pregnancy as she gets to know his friends (Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Charlene Yi and Martin Starr) and Ben becomes a part of her family, socialising with her sister, brother-in-law (Paul Rudd) and their two daughters (Maude and Iris Apatow) while the pair attempt to start their own family.

Judd Apatow really knocked this one out of the park. He had already had huge success with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and this follow up is every bit as good as that. Apatow has grabbed most of his Freaks and Geeks cast (such an underrated show, check it out if you haven’t already) and used them to play Ben and his friends. One downside for me is Katherine Heigl. She really could have been played by anyone, and does not add much to the role. The role was originally offered to Anne Hathaway, and I really wish she had taken it. She would have added so much more to the role I think. As it is, Alison comes across as an uptight pain and really unlikable. You get the feeling that despite their looks and employment status, it is Rogen’s character who is settling rather than Heigl.

The only other negative I can say is it does not make much sense why Heigl would keep the baby. The topic of abortion is never raised in the film, which seems odd to me. Alison is a successful career woman who has just received the promotion of her life, why would she keep the spawn of this unemployed loser she had a one night stand with? The film never claims she is religious in any way, but I’d have liked some explanation as to why she decided to keep this baby and pursue a relationship with the foppish Seth Rogen.

Other than that, the film is hilarious. Paul Rudd is great as the sex starved brother-in-law. He and Leslie Mann’s characters were so popular they got their own spin off a few years later called This is 40.

Knocked Up is a very funny look at the ups and downs of pregnancy. Despite having a weak female lead, everybody else in this movie is at the top of their game and deliver the laughs at every opportunity.

Rating: B+

I used to absolutely love Knocked Up, but the more I watch it the less sense it seems to make. I certainly wasn’t thinking as hard about the movies I watched back in 2007, however it’s odd that all the things that bother me about this movie now completely flew under my radar back then.

My main problem is that it makes absolutely no sense why Alison (Katherine Heigl) would even consider keeping the baby resulting from her one night stand. For starters, she lives in her sister’s pool house. Not the best place to raise a baby, and also indicates that she’s not making enough to support herself (Los Angeles isn’t cheap). She also has a good behind the scenes job in television, and has just been given the opportunity to become on-air talent. Her earning potential is growing, but a pregnancy could jeopardize her promotion. Lastly… that movie poster really says it all. And if gazing upon Seth Rogan’s goofy face doesn’t convince you that having a kid with this guy is not a good idea, then just watch the movie. He’s a real loser for the first two acts, one Alison should have run far away from after getting an abortion.

But of course, if things went the way they would in real life we wouldn’t have a movie.

Once you get past the nonsense of Alison’s decision (which is completely glossed over, I suppose because this is a pregnancy movie written primarily from a male perspective), this is a funny movie, though not as funny as I remember it being. Judd Apatow has a talent for adding wit, sarcasm, and emotion to everyday situations. Knocked Up just isn’t his best work.

The two main female characters (Heigl and Leslie Mann, Apatow’s wife) are presented as humorless and overly emotional. The two main male characters (Rogan and Paul Rudd) are bumbling fools who lack basic empathy. Everyone is some horrible stereotype or caricature of a real human being. At least they are given some funny lines and situations to work with, and some even redeem themselves by the end of the film. Otherwise this would be unwatchable.

For me, Knocked Up will always live in the shadow of the superior The 40-Year-Old Virgin. This even more true now that I realize how silly Knocked Up is. I can only chalk the success of this movie up to the subject matter. Unplanned pregnancies aren’t typically the focus of romantic comedies, so this movie does get points for originality. Still, if you want a film about getting knocked up, you’d be better off watching Juno.

Rating: C

One thought on “Knocked Up (2007)

  1. Pingback: Lethal Weapon (1987) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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