The other night Chantelle and I ended up watching Knocked Up at the cinema, mainly due to the fact that Chantelle had heard that the movie is funny and because she enjoyed director Judd Apatows previous smash hit The 40-Year Old Virgin. – The premise for the movie seemed okay, so I went with it. Unfortunately. (What can I say? Unlike the rest of the world it would seem, I didnt enjoy The 40-Year Old Virgin either! At least Chantelle enjoyed this one.)
Knocked Up tells the story of Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) who is a 23-year-old slacker working on launching a porn site with his other stoned roommates. Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) is a responsible, career-minded professional who just landed a promotion at E! where she works. A night out on town to celebrate, lots of alcohol and one bout of drunken sex with Ben, takes her to a place that no woman (or man) wants to be without planning – pregnant.
From that point onwards the movie follows the lives of Alison and Ben as they try to stay together for the sake of the unborn child, but at the same time proving just how difficult it is for such different people with different views and from different backgrounds to get along with one another.
The movie is written and directed in a very realistic way, with the dialog and actors making this entire movie seem to come straight out of real life. There is no forced humour or situations and Apatow does a brilliant job of progressing the story as naturally as possible. – If you have ever been in this situation before, then you would immediately identify with the characters. In fact, even if you haven’t been there before, you can still easily slip yourselves into the characters shoes. (Hypothetically of course – I don’t see myself in heels thank you very much)
That said, because everything comes across as natural as possible, I found the film very devoid of any real humour. No witty repartee or puns to speak of, little physical and situational humour, and so on a comedy level, I found this film to fail, instead wallowing around the light-hearted romantic drama genre more than the romantic comedy it is touted to be.
Although I didnt really enjoy the movie at all, I however still found myself compelled to watch it. The movie held my attention throughout its run, a clear indication that the pacing of the movie worked well and that Apatow had nailed this story.
Of course, without good actors this movie could never have been pulled off in the first place. Originally this film was meant to be a direct sequel to The 40-Year Old Virgin, featuring the employees of the Seth Tech team, but it eventually moved away from this premise and instead Apatow pulled some of the actors that did appear in the original for this project, but outside of their previous roles. Seth Rogen is to be commended on portraying the slacker Ben with absolute perfection. He comes across as sincere and serious as the role requires of him, yet at the same time managing to maintain the illusion of being a loveable, clumsy loser.
Katherine Heigl is just as proficient in her role as the controlling perfectionist, and brings across the various rollercoaster emotions of being pregnant easily within her stride. Paul Rudd puts in a great performance as well as the suffering husband Pete, the same on-screen chemistry that worked between Seth and Paul in the 40-Year Old Virgin is evident in this movie once again.
The soundtrack for Knocked Up is a strange and wonderful mix of sounds that work really well in keeping with the realistic feel of the movie. There are will over 40 songs that appear in the movie – obviously half of which don’t appear on the official soundtrack album!
The camerawork on the movie is nothing spectacular – there is no action sequences to speak of, but it does what it needs to do, pulling back on a lot of shots to get a sense of space and carries the storys realism as well as possible. One thing to watch out for is the very graphic birthing scene, purportedly a first in western cinematography.
Looking at it, I have to admit that Knocked Up is a well put together movie and that it may appeal to a lot of people. (I’m just not one of them. I wasnt able to connect with any one of the characters, nor did I find much of it funny at all, making it a miss in my books.)
Thumbs down men, youre not going to get much out of this one. Your girlfriend might just enjoy it though.
Note, this isnt a kiddie friendly movie. – As usual a lot of real world – read crude – language, drug use and sex scenes, combined with a graphic birthing scene, makes for an adult movie experience. Leave the kids at home! Teenage daughters on the other hand might learn something though
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knocked_up