Tuesday, October 9, 2007

KNOCKED UP on DVD: Unrated and Unprotected

KNOCKED UP is a light-hearted look at an unplanned pregnancy. I found many laughs, especially from the porn-loving mostly male geek ensemble, but weak plotting for the lovers. I had never seen any of director Judd Apatow’s other movies or TV series but heard all about THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN (2005) from the movies and FREAKS AND GEEKS (1999) from TV, his two best known projects. This year’s SUPERBAD, which he produced, has solidified Apatow’s position as the hottest comedy producer/director/writer in Hollywood.

Katherine Heigl, the GREY’S ANATOMY beauty [excuse the redundancy] plays a producer from the E! Channel. She has a drunken fling with a chubby web-porn entrepreneur, played by Seth Rogen. He gets her pregnant and there are two things to resolve: will she keep the baby and will he take responsibility? No spoiler alert needed to tell you she does and he does.

The only problem left is how to get these two to fall in love. In another fat guy/blonde beauty comedy, SHALLOW HAL, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Rosemary falls in love with Hal (Jack Black) for many reasons, not just because she thinks he must be a great guy to overlook her obesity [he’s actually under a spell that allows him to see only inner beauty] but because of his actions [he’s great with the kids in the burn unit at her hospital (he can’t see their actually condition either)]. KNOCKED UP had her telling him way too early, with no strong motivation, that she loves him. Other than the fact that he said he’d be there for her, I didn’t get the love story from her end.

The DVD extras showed scenes where they spend time together, even a fight where she’s whining that he didn’t cry when they saw the first sonogram pictures of the baby. This is the stuff of real relationships, a stupid fight. I would like to have seen them together more like this. There’s no magic moment where they fall in love and this is a requirement in a comedy. There’s a motivation for the other requirement, the breakup that leads to the makeup, but it’s related to a ridiculous mushroom fueled Vegas road-trip that he takes with her brother-in-law, the consistently brilliant Paul Rudd.

So, worth a rental but glad I didn’t pay 11 bucks to see in a theater.

POSTSCRIPT: Knocked Up in Real Life

In real life I’ve known a few people who were involved in a pregnancy out of wedlock. Unlike the movies, it’s rarely funny. In one case I think it actually improved the life of my old poker buddy Fat Johnny [not his real name] who was trapped by his girlfriend into marrying him [per my psychic mother as she saw her waddle down the aisle], because Johnny became more responsible. After the wedding both families helped them out. They moved from Brooklyn out to Long Island, had the baby and then had a few more kids. Think Jack and Diane, two kids doing the best they can. Johnny had grown up without a father and had large appetites unchecked by the firm hand of Dad. Starting a new life, by all accounts Johnny became a good suburban Hockey Dad. The last time I saw Johnny he was bowling in a lunch-time league at MSG. He was heavy and bald but he looked content. Another happy ending.

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