Monday, June 25, 2007

Debra - MONDAY MORNING REVIEW

KNOCKED UP


Katherine Hiegl, Seth Rogan
Directed by Judd Apatow (The 40 Year-Old Virgin)
Running time: just over 2 hours

First, if you've never seen The 40 Year-Old Virgin, rent it. And just so you'll know, the chest waxing scenes were filmed live.

Second, if you didn't like The 40 Year-Old Virgin, don't bother with this one. It's from the same stable and a few of the faces will be familiar.

Plot: Hot television chick, having just gotten her big on-air break, celebrates with too many drinks and ends up pregnant by pot-smoking slacker one-night-stand.

This is a comedy, not a romance. You'll get a little romance with the humor but Seth Rogan as hero Ben is far from the mark as hero material. The movie doesn't gradually remake him physically so that his sex appeal sneaks up on you. What you see in the beginning of the movie is pretty much what you get at the end of the movie, except that the character has grown up a bit and gotten a job. (Hey, don't be yelling at me. I don't think a hero has to be gorgeously handsome but this guy feels more like a character actor than a lead. He's got the comic chops but I just didn't buy him as a romantic lead.) While characters stumbling into love can be great fun, I didn't feel the chemistry between these two characters. Comic timing? Yes. Chemistry? Not so much.

Ben is sweet and good-hearted. One of his best scenes comes as he's trying to make all the right supportive statements over the phone but the audience can see that the sincerity his voice is offering isn't mirrored on his face. He had hero potential in that scene.

My husband was with me and he laughed heartily throughout, especially once we got past the character introduction scenes. The rest of the theater did too. Heck, I laughed. A lot. Sometimes for quite a long time.

But...

You knew a "but" was coming. I really wanted both the comedy and the romance to work. Too often they sacrificed the developing romance for comedy. And in the end I didn't believe real love, lasting love existed between these two.

As a comedy, the film worked. The comedy wasn't subtle but judging from the amount of laughter in the theater, people appreciated the broad strokes. There's also a cute cast and crew "baby" scrapbook during the credits. Paul Rudd in his scrubs holding his baby in the delivery room makes you go, "Aw..." And I will say that more than once during the movie I wished Paul Rudd was playing the lead instead of doing a fine job as the brother-in-law support role.

Am I unfairly judging this movie for failing to deliver a satisfying romance when it really is more comedy than romance? Am I just greedy to want both?

17 comments:

Helen Brenna said...

I haven't yet seen it, but, the previews look as though they're holding it out strictly as a comedy. The title speaks for itself.

Could it be that they came soooo close to nailing both comedy and romance and that's why you feel let down?

IMO, Paul Rudd deserves a lead. Any lead.

I must be turning into my parents. I found this title so offensive, I was close to boycotting.

Betina Krahn said...

Deb, you're far more charitable than I was when I saw it. It didn't much work for me as a comedy OR a romance. This makes American Pie look like an Oscar contender!!

Terrible chemistry and I kept thinking the heroine was too stupid to live. . . she needed to have her uterus license revoked. I understand keeping the baby and all that. . . even having the father involved if he wanted to be. It would have made so much more sense and would have been far more poignant if she disliked him for being such a nothing and a stupid, incompetent slacker. . . but came to care about him as the preg. advanced and at the end, had to admit she could/might love him. As it was, she was so adamant about having a big relationship with him and "making it work" when there was no justification for her doing so. . . I just coulnd't care.

And don't get me started on the juvenile male humor that was just gross and majorly disgusting.
(This coming from a woman who raised two boys and was around a lot of jocks!)

Interestingly, there was almost no laughter in the theater I was in, which was half full. I barely smiled.

And yes, the baby scrapbook thing at the end was adorable. . . and made me annoyed at the cheap grab for "awwww's."

Debra Dixon said...

Helen-- Naw, they weren't close to nailing the romance. I think that some part of my brain loves a good romance and wants to turn everything into one. (g)

Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- Yep, the comedy is "boy humor" stuff that I don't always find funny. Have a theater that was laughing probably helped because laughter can be infectious.

But I also thought the heroine's actions were sometimes plain stupid. Once when the Katherine Hiegl character said, "I can't I trust you to take care of us [her/baby]" I was stunned. Take care of them? Why? She had what should have been a decently paying job, a supportive family, a place to live.

Everything about the romantic relationship was poorly conceived, forced and based on shaky ground.

MsHellion said...

I didn't like 40 yr old virgin--so I gladly steered clear of seeing this one as well. And from the remarks, with good reason.

I think if you want to mix comedy and romance, 50 First Dates did a good job. Gross out humor, yes. Juvenile and humor in bad taste in that we're basically making fun of someone with a disability--but the chemistry between the characters worked. Plus I think Adam Sandler is cute enough to work as a romantic lead. And I cried in the end when they got together.

My movie mate was not so impressed, due to the bad taste in having it center around what is clearly a disability...but just goes to prove, there is a movie for everyone...

Kathleen Eagle said...

Well, I'm going to be the odd man out here. (Surprise surprise.) I loved this movie, and I would definitely call it romantic comedy. Mind you, it had been a while since I'd seen a movie that really made me laugh, and I was ready. Saw it with dh, who also laughed, but not quite as much as I did. But that's the way it usually goes. When the lights go down I'm much more willing to howl or bawl uncontrollably.

Interestingly enough, dh was one of the few men in the theater. Lots of women and lots of laughter. There was a group of middle-aged women behind us--obviously enjoying a girls' night out--who laughed so uproariously that one of them felt compelled to apologize to Clyde when the lights went up.

Okay, there was a lot of 6th grade boy humor going on among the roomies. I'm okay with the fact that there's a 6th grade boy in every man. And frankly I thought Paul Rudd was perfect where he was. It was part of what I found refreshing about the whole thing. Switch the roles and you have the same old thing. Mind you, when I saw "The Holiday"--which I thought quite predictable and mostly boring--I was far more enchanted by Jack Black's character than--Who was the pretty boy in that one?

The hop into bed at the end of the night was hard for me to buy, but once I accepted that, anything was possible. And funny. And I was happy to buy into the relationships because they seemed quite human. Smart people do stupid things, and if it doesn't kill them it can be funny and maybe even rewarding. Don't want to spoil the ending for anyone, but let's just say I found what didn't happen to be as refreshing an outcome as what did.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, meant to say I did like "40-Year Old Virgin" but liked "Little Miss Sunshine" even better. (No, I won't try to claim LMS to be a romance. But some of the humor is pretty dark, some pretty gross.) With 40-Yr you have to buy into a pretty far-out premise, too. I'm not sure there was a lot of the kind of chemistry we romance lovers look for, either. But if the hero isn't a hunk...

What about "Shallow Hal"?

Debra Dixon said...

Kathy--

The movie would have totally worked for me with Jack Black. He's the perfect example of a comedy guy who can totally cross over and make us care about a relationship.

Debra Dixon said...

50 FIRST DATES. Didn't think I would but I really liked it. Mostly because I'd never been a big Adam Sandler fan. 50 1st Dates turned that around.

Michele Hauf said...

These kind of comedies are totally out of my realm of understanding. I never see them. Nothing like American Pie or 40-Year Old even appeals to me. I don't like to pay $8.75 for something I can rent a few months later, if I really want to see it.

Did see Ocean's Thirteen though this weekend, and still am undecided about it. Better than 12, but not as good as 11. And when will the American filmmakers start utilizing such fab European actors as Julian Sands and Vincent Cassel more? They both had about two minutes screen time. But it was enough to give me a thrill.

I will confess to once watching one of the Scary Movies on TV. Caught it in the middle, and found the dumb humor to actually be pretty darn good.

M

FIONA said...

Didn't see the movie. Won't see it, either. The title is soooo offensive, as is the premise: drunks, drugs and casual sex just aren't what I look for in a movie, and in no way see as "romantic."

Cindy Gerard said...

Kathleen - you DO surprise me.:o) Of all the riders, I thought you would have the most trouble with this movie. Just goes to show :o)
Saw 40 Year old Virgin. I love Steve Carell and, like Kathleen, enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine more - I think I even did a blog review on it.
Anyway, I'm passing on this movie - the title thing. Just - well, yuck.
I am, however, looking forward to (surprise another Steve C movie) Evan Almighty.
And someone mentioned Jack Black in Shallow Hal. That movie worked for me. So did Jack as a romantic lead. there's something teddy bearish about him don't ya think?

Betina Krahn said...

Cindy, I'm with you, babe! Steve Carrel is a hoot in the right role. And Evan Almighty, despite the far-fetched premise, made me laugh my socks off. Go figure.

Part of what I adored about the movie was the sweet eccentricity of the characters. . .really easy to care about them. Carrel's face is comedic genius sometimes. . . especially when birds are sitting all over him and doing what birds do. Very sweet, funny family movie. Great casting-- the kids were adorable and Wanda Sykes should be declared a national treasure! And who wouldn't want to see John Goodman, playing a politico baddie, get dive bombed with bird poo?

And I'm sure lots of people will disagree with me on this one. . . but I have a major bias in favor of any movie that lets animals upstage and humble humans. Gotta love those critters!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Guys, I would have passed on "Knocked Up" for the title, too. I've always hated that expression. It's guy language. They talk differently. Not my guy, you say? Maybe not in your presence, but I promise you, they speak a different language. And that's part of the sensibility of this movie. I thought it was well-written, and I've seen soooo many poorly written movies lately.

I thought I wanted to see Evan Almighty until I read a couple of reviews. It's so disappointing when the logline turns out to be all there is to the movie, which is what it sounds like they did. It's bad enough to waste Carell, but a waste of Morgan Freeman too? Cindy, you're the scout on this one. Will wait to see which way your thumb goes.

Oh, and the Oceans movies. My problem is that I'm old enough to remember the original Ocean's 11. I get the appeal of packing the movie with big names and letting it be known that they had a rollicking good time getting together to do this because they're all such fun-loving guys, but why can't they find a new vehicle? I saw O11 the remake and sort of watched O12--ran the dvd but wasn't glued to the set. I'll wait for O13 to come out on dvd unless Clyde picks it the next time we go to the theater. I think it's his turn.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Betina, I posted before you got your thumb in the air. Okay, reserving judgment on Evan. I do get sort of a kick out of the male hair removal humor, although I cringe watching the trailer when it extends to inside the nose. Yeesh!

Helen Brenna said...

I adore Steve Carrel, but I'm going to have to try and watch 40 year old virgin under different circumstances than the first time.

My in-laws (they have college-aged kids) rented it for our Christmas movie back when it first came out in dvd. My son was barely allowed to watch pg-13 movies at the time.

I kept thinking, OMG, I'm scarring this child.

Another movie along the same vein is Anchorman. Still haven't decided whether or not I like that one.

Christie Ridgway said...

My teenage son told me I wouldn't like Knocked Up. He's probably right, so I haven't seen it. Haven't seen 40 Year Old Virgin either.

I saw Ocean's 13, Michele, and had the same reaction as you. Better than 12, not as good as 11. (Though 12 on DVD is better than in the theater because you can go back to things you might have missed the first time.) I think what I did miss in 13 was the lack of a romance motivator like in 11 and 12. Still, it was a fun way to spend the afternoon.