I can’t say I was really excited about seeing “Knocked Up”. I mean, at all. Not that I have a vendetta against these sorts of tooth-rottingly sweet comedy-dramas, but it’s just not my kind of movie. That aside, for what it is, I can’t say it was all that bad. You have to be into these types of movies to fully appreciate it, I’m sure, but even if this isn’t you forte’ you’ll probably enjoy some of it on some level.
Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) is an unemployed stoner do-nothing who spends his days goofing off with his friends, partying and overall accomplishing nothing with his life. Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl) is a successful employee of the E! Network who has just been promoted to do onscreen interviews and has a bright future ahead of her. By shear coincidence, the two meet at a party and after some heavy drinking, go back to Allison’s place and have some classic unprotected sex. A few weeks later, Allison discovers she’s pregnant and alerts Ben to the dilemma. The pair must now adjust their lives and prepare for the hardships of childcare which lay ahead of them, but most importantly, they must learn to like each other.
That’s it. That’s the extent of the plot.
This movie isn’t what I’d classify as “story-driven”. This sort of thing happens a lot here in America. And by “a lot” I mean “epidemic”. You’ve likely got some friends or family or both who have undergone the same conflict as the characters in “Knocked Up”. And those friends and family are probably the film’s target audience. This isn’t a goofy over-the-top comedy; the humor is about as realistic as it gets. This might disappoint some, especially if you’re expecting a laugh-out-loud riot from start to finish. Even the dialogue between the characters never gets too funny. It’s the sort of stuff you’d say with your friends, which you would find absolutely hilarious, but in reality, it’s just not that funny. This somewhat works to the film’s credit, as it keeps everything firmly grounded in reality.
What the movie lacks in story it tries to make up for with characters. With a plot as thin as this, the characters are all you have left. I commend Director Judd Apatow for casting primarily unknown people for the roles. The film’s “realistic” approach just wouldn’t work if it starred, oh, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. One thing I rather liked about Ben and Allison is that you both love and hate them. The film never favors either one of them too much. One moment Ben is being an irresponsibly piggish stoner douchebag, the next he’s a sweet, caring and level-headed boyfriend doing his best to add levity to a complicated situation. Likewise, Allison can be responsible, understanding and fun, then a second later she erupts in a rage of hormone-induced psychotic bitch-fury. You get a fair view of the situation from both perspectives.
The supporting cast is both good and bad. Ben’s horde of stoner friends are obnoxious, stupid and irritating, but I think they’re supposed to be. They’re like those friends you had in high school or college that just never grew up. And while I fully understand why they acted the way they did…they were still annoying. On the flipside, you have Allison’s sister, Debbie, her husband, Pete, and their kids. They contribute a look at married life for Ben and Allison and what they’re future might hold. While it isn’t pretty, it is again, fairly realistic. It might remind you of your friend’s marriage, or your parents’ marriage, or God help you, your marriage.
“Knocked Up” isn’t for everybody. In fact, it wasn’t even for me. It’s sickeningly sweet, thin on plot, only mildly funny and at times pretty boring. Yet, from an unbiased perspective, I can see it achieved what it was going for and the fans of these types of dramas will likely have a fulfilling experience. If anything, it’ll inspire some of you to invest in condoms.