Friday, June 29, 2007

Knocked Up

Knocked Up

What is interesting about the summer movie season is that movie studios think that they are doing their best work by spending hundreds of millions on the most spectacular explosions you’ve ever seen. The problem is, mushrooming clouds of fire after a while start to look the same, and we just end up board. But in between the mega million dollar adventures that sometimes end up rushed and poorly acted (gee, they never considered that part of the movie) a few films get released that actually have heart. And, surprise! They end up better than the blockbuster and at a third of the price or less.

If you are looking for an aside to the CGI- heavy summer movies this summer but don’t want to sacrifice the entertainment, Knocked Up may just be perfect for you. Judd Apatow delivers a bundle of joy, beaming with painfully realistic humor that hardly ever lets you stop laughing. And in between the gross sexual humor beats a heart, something often lacking in most R- rated comedies. Those two elements combine to make Knocked Up a guy flick and a chick flick all wrapped up into one.

Seth Rogan is in rare form. He is best known for his foul- mouthed characters, most notably of which being Steve Carrell’s buddy in The 40 Year Old Virgin. But his character in Knocked Up goes dirtier and more mature than in Virgin. Similarly the movie mimics Rogan’s character by delving deeper into the guy side of sex, but takes the human side of the situation to a pleasant, though at times overly heart grabbing point.

The title pretty much spells out the clincher of the story. Kathryn Heigle’s character has a one night stand with Rogan’s character, ending up pregnant with what appears to be the bastard child of a pot smoking, jobless loser. But, as in life, the baby’s impendence changes the two characters’ lives completely. It is this realism, which Apatow often uses in his comedies, that make them poignant and touching.

Knocked Up is hilarious, and that is partly because of how tangible the storyline is to so many of us. Most people have at least known someone who has been in a knocked up situation, or have been in it themselves; so to see it play out in a believable scenario, makes the whole snafu hit close to home. I found myself laughing in relief that it wasn’t happening to me.

Besides for maybe Heigle, there aren’t any real big names in the movie. Rogan is an unlikely movie star, though he holds his own as a leading man. It works because he plays the charming loser very well, and you, in turn, connect with him. Perhaps it is the movie’s lower budget and lesser known (but very talented) actors that make the film even more accessible.

Plainly put, the film is honest, and painfully so. But its genuine quality leaves you with something as you are strolling out of the theatre. Instead of a “wow that really looked cool” coming out of your buttery popcorn tasting mouth, you’ll feel a workout in your abs from the laughter and a smile from the story’s end. And maybe the butter popcorn taste too.

-Mark Wingerter

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