Judd Apatow is still a fairly unknown name to general moviegoers. If however I were to say that he has been responsible for recent comedy classics such as ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’, ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Superbad’ you would see he’s worth giving some attention to, even if it’s the smallest amount. The comedy frat pack of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and many others may have dominated the comedy scene since the late 90s. However it seems that their comedic misadventures are becoming a little tired of late, and the child friendly ‘Night At The Museum’ proved that perhaps its time for ringleader Stiller to do the humane thing and step outside the museum for a second with some whisky and a firearm of sorts. Luckily for the viewing public, Apatow has dived in to save the day for comedy… even though no one’s really noticed yet.
Similarly to ’40 Year Old Virgin’, the title of ‘Knocked Up’ has implications that its contents could well be jam-packed with immature jokes centred around a generally vulgar theme. However as ’40 Year Old Virgin’ proved this is not the case at all, and the film is in fact quite a ‘grown-up’ comedy. Ben (Seth Rogen) is an unemployed loser, who after a one night stand with beautiful blonde Alison (Katherine Heigl) finds her eight weeks later claiming that she’s pregnant with his child and intending to keep the baby. To Alison this seems like the end of her life. To Ben it’s the opportunity to turn his life around and prove himself as a sweet, decent and most importantly responsible guy.
The story is simplistic and this is I believe to be one of the strong points to Apatow’s movies. As great as ‘Zoolander’ was, some feedback from people (generally idiots) were that it was amusing however they didn’t really seem to get it. A prime example would be this prick…
‘Shoot yourself in the foot. This would be better than watching ZOOLANDER. Better yet, pay someone $3.95 to do it. Or burn the money, that's still good because you can enjoy the few seconds of flame. But do not watch this. It will devour your soul. It is a movie that makes me want to puke until I am dead.’ Interestingly he only gave it one star out of ten on imdb, and even that surprises me as something about his comment makes me feel he didn’t like it…
The movie’s simplicity also seemingly adds to the realism of the tale, and the audience thankfully doesn’t bare witness to a heart-warming montage, resulting in the transformation of Ben into a gentleman and Alison into loving him. The relationships Ben and Alison and even the characters around them have suffer problems, and it’s something that rarely is achieved realistically in movies. Usually the young, good looking badboy-turned-ponce (through montage) will accidentally return to his old ways resulting in ‘the end’. After a short fifteen minute reality check (also through montage) resulting in some sickening public act of affection such as a poem, or degradation in front of a mass public regains her love, not only achieving this but also a longer running time and apparent realism to the story. Fantastic! Thankfully in ‘Knocked Up’ this is not the case.
Rogen has shown people that he is very capable of playing cameo roles in past movies, and I was dubious as to whether he would manage the same when playing a lead. However the on screen chemistry and dynamic between both him and Heigl is undeniable and incredibly watchable. Both leading actors have come from recent television backgrounds and it’s refreshing to see some new faces in comedy. Rogen perhaps more experienced and in his element after both writing and starring in Saturday Night Live, however the decision to take Heigl away from the dramatic and disease ridden world of Gray’s Anatomy appears a very good one, and it fits her character well.
Overall ‘Knocked Up’ is a tour-de-force blend of comedy with more realism than you would expect. This and the addition of great casting and the Apatow brandname show more than one reason for this not to be missed. Though it may not appeal to everyone (people who liked Babel), it can still stand proud as great encouragement to me and those like me that we still have a general hope in life of finding Miss Right… even if all it takes is an ‘accidental’ impregnation forcing them to find the inner beauty within me.
…Time to start hitting the clubs.