US Release Date: 06-01-2007
Directed by: Judd Apatow
- Katherine Heigl, as
- Alison Scott
- Seth Rogen, as
- Ben Stone
- Paul Rudd, as
- Leslie Mann, as
- Jay Baruchel, as
- Jonah Hill, as
- Jason Segel, as
- Martin Starr, as
- Ryan Seacrest, as
- James Franco, as
- Steve Carell as
You know that couple that you just know isn't going to make it? This is that couple.
I am so sick of the Hollywood stereotype that all men are just Frat Boys who refuse to grow up and all women are mature, if slightly uptight, and somehow the two of them will get together and balance themselves out. Unfortunately for me, that seems to be the only kind of movie director Judd Apatow seems capable of making and with increasingly diminishing returns.
Where usually in these kinds of movies you have Will Ferrell or Steve Carrell in the lead, this time around two of the supporting characters from the Frat Pack movies; Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, play the two main male characters and neither of them has the charisma to carry a movie. Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy plays the female lead and while she's attractive enough, she doesn't do anything to make herself stand out and is basically just your generic movie blond. Only Leslie Mann, who plays Rudd's wife, manages to give her character any real depth and she's only a supporting character. When neither of your leads in a romantic comedy does anything to distinguish themselves from the thousands of other romantic comedies that have been made over the years you know a movie is in serious trouble.
The plot (which takes way too long to get going and resolve itself) revolves around Ben; an eternal slacker, having a one-night stand with Alison; an up-and-comer at the E! Television channel. Following some drunken confusion, they end up having sex without a condom and they wind up pregnant. Mann plays Alison's sister; Debbie, with whom Alison lives along with Debbie's husband Pete (Rudd) and their two kids. Debbie and Pete are having marital problems and Ben and Alison find themselves mired in their troubles along with their own.
Also along for the ride and supposedly providing many of the "laughs" are Ben's stoner friends, whom he lives with. They spend their time smoking pot and making up stupid bets all the while making plans for a website that will list the time in movies where nude scenes appear. Unfortunately these scenes aren't nearly as funny they think they are and most of them feel as though they were ad-libbed by a group of very unfunny people. I can only guess that perhaps they really were high and so their lines seemed funny to them at the time.
I suppose the most important aspect of any romantic comedy is the chemistry between the leads. You need to care about them and hope they some how end up together. With Ben and Alison, not only didn't I like either one of them, I could not have cared less whether or not they end up together because clearly they aren't suited for each other and in real life would obviously never make it, probably ruining both of their lives and their child's as they tried.
Maybe I'm being a little harsh on this movie, because there are a couple of funny scenes here and there, but they are so outweighed by the ones that bored me silly, they're not the ones that I remember. But then I also thought that the 40-Year Old Virgin was overrated and that when on to make a ton of money and it looks as though Knocked Up is poised to do the same thing. It's just definitely not my cup of tea.
Paul Rudd is the best thing this movie has going for it.
The big flaw in Knocked Up is the length. No romantic comedy should ever be over 2 hours long. Nearly every scene with Ben's friends should have been cut out. They serve no purpose to the story. Once it is established that Ben is an unemployed, pot smoking bum there is no need to ever show those guys again.
Heigl looks hot and her fake boobs are awesome, but any number of actresses working today could have played the role without having any different results. I kept thinking she looked like Kate Bosworth with implants. Come to think of it, maybe she just got the role because of her large boobs?
I disagree with Scott about Rudd. I think he is the best thing in the movie. His sarcastic comments and looks are some of the best moments. I loved it when his wife busts in on him and he says, "I got Matsui." Or when she asks him if he still wants to have sex, even though she is constipated, and he says, "Now."
Although they are very much opposites, the movie does try to show how they may actually end up together. Ben gets a job and stops smoking pot. Most importantly is that he sticks up for Alison when it comes to the doctor and her sister. Since Alison is that stereotypical perfect movie girl, she is not required to change in the least. They still only have a prayers chance, but hey, this is a romantic comedy where everyone ends up happy no matter how unrealistic it is.
Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd in Knocked Up.
I guess technically this is a romantic comedy but to me it plays more like a gross-out frat-boy movie mixed with a chick flick. I do agree that it is a bit long but I definitely enjoyed it more than either of my brothers.
I disagree with both of you about Katherine Heigl, and before seeing this movie I was definitely not a fan. I think she is quite funny and endearing in what could have been a one-note role.
Both she and Seth Rogen manage to play for laughs while keeping the level of reality intact. Their opposites attract shtick works because they don’t overdo it. They never fall passionately in love, which would have been patently ridiculous. Instead they are two very different people that unintentionally make a baby together.
What works about the movie is that (contrary to what Eric wrote) both of the main characters grow and mature over the course of the movie.
Ben Stone (not a very subtle name) changes in obvious ways; he quits smoking pot, gets a job and moves into his own apartment. This is all very new to him (as he says in the movie he never even had a girlfriend before) so he handles the situation quite well considering. Getting Alison pregnant was the catalyst he needed to grow up.
Alison, on the other hand, was moving ahead in her career but was afraid of intimacy and commitment. She was terrified of ending up in a marriage like her sisters, which seemed to be all about bickering all of the time. Ben finally wins her over completely when he stands up to her sister in the birthing room at the hospital.
I rather enjoyed Knocked Up. It offers a refreshingly original take on the romantic comedy genre.
Photos © Copyright Universal Pictures (2007)