“Knocked Up” is the next film from the creators of the sleeper hit, “The Forty-Year-Old Virgin”. Most of the same team is there including Writer/Director Judd Apatow, and improv geniuses, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd. This time, there is no Steve Carell to steal the show. And, that, I think, is what makes “Knocked Up” a superior movie. Steve Carell is just too big. Especially now whatwith the “The Offices” and “Evan Almightys”. So even though he does always play the (mostly) lovable loser, he's just not as relatable as a Seth Rogen.
I have been wanting to see Seth Rogen in a lead role since he played one of my favorite characters on the short-lived but absolutely brilliant TV show, “Freaks and Geeks”. He wasn't improvising so much then, but he was only a kid. Now he has definitely blossomed into his own glorious comedic flower.
In “Knocked Up”, Rogen plays Ben, an underachieving stoner who is coasting through life thinking about nothing but himself. Everything changes when he, with the aid of alcohol, manages to score a one night stand with a beautiful, successful woman named Allison (Katherine Heigl). Alcohol also contributes to the titular state in which Allison finds herself 8 weeks later. She decides to keep the baby and, because he's a good person, he decides to raise the baby with her.
Rogen is ably backed by Paul Rudd who, on screen, can do NO WRONG. This time Rudd plays Pete, Allison's brother-in-law who is going through a bit of a rough patch emotionally. Rudd and Rogen could be much funnier versions of people I hang out with every day. The script is heartfelt, hilarious and, because it's about having a baby, TERRIFYING.
The script also does a fantastic job of balancing the male and female sides of dating, relationships and accidentally growing up. In most movies that attempt to show the female side, the women are shoe-obsessed bags of shallowness or else they are cute but completely insane. In contrast, the women in Knocked Up are completely realistic and actually pretty cool. Sure, Allison's sister, Debbie, can be a little crazy at times, but Leslie Mann (Apatow's real life wife and mother of his children) plays Debbie sympathetically as an otherwise level-headed woman who just didn't realize what having kids was going to do to her life. Allison might be smoking hot and working for the E! network, but she's still a down-to-earth, normal girl who's willing to try and work it out with her baby-daddy. She knows that deep down, he's a good person who just needs a kick in the pants to be a great father. I've read that Heigl beat out actresses like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Anne Hathaway and Lindsay Lohan for the role of Allison. And thank God. It would have been a completely different film. Much more traditional Rom Com and far too Hollywood. The reason I don't like most Rom Coms are because I just don't know people like Lindsay Lohan. I'm not a Jennifer Love Hewitt. I could kick it with a Katherine Heigl.
Of course, the character in the move I most relate to isn't a woman. The thing that really struck a chord with me while watching this movie is the fact that I saw more of myself in Ben and his lifestyle than in Allison. Think about that when you watch this movie. What if BEN were the one who got knocked up. Yikes.
“Knocked Up” is one of those rare comedies that goes deeper than just getting from point A to point B. It's about how real people (who are, granted, funnier than you) deal with life not turning out the way they'd planned. And that's something that EVERYONE can relate to.
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