Knocked Up

Cast:
Katherine Heigl as Alison Scott
Seth Rogen as Ben Stone
Paul Rudd as Pete
Leslie Mann as Debbie
Jay Baruchel as Jay
Jonah Hill as Jonah
Jason Segel as Jason
Martin Starr as Martin

Summary:
While featuring a lot of drug and sex humor, “Knocked Up” is a fun romantic comedy. With strong performances from both the leads and supporting cast, it is easily the funniest film so far this year.

Story:
Ben Stone has never really grown up. He has no job, smokes pot, and hangs out with his loser friends. He’s the total opposite of Alison Scott, a beautiful and ambitious up and coming reporter at E!. The two meet one night at a club and after an evening of heavy drinking, the two end up having an ill-advised one night stand. The result is, of course, an unplanned pregnancy.

Alison fears for her job at E!, but decides to keep the baby. She also decides that Ben should be involved as well. After the initial shock, the two agree to try and get to know each other better and make a relationship. But along with the fears of the impending birth and parenthood, the two must deal with learning to love each other despite all signs pointing towards it not working.

“Knocked Up” is rated R for sexual content, drug use and language.

What Worked:
“Knocked Up” follows the same formula that worked on “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Both films are romantic comedies wrapped in a raunchy sex comedy exterior. Both films have a sympathetic everyman / man-child that ends up being the romantic lead and hero. Both films have witty dialogue and a strong supporting cast. And, of course, both movies have many of the same cast members.

I think what makes “Knocked Up” work so well is that many of the situations are familiar to people in the audience. As a parent myself, I’ve had to deal with reading all the pregnancy books, dealing with a hormonal wife, adjusting to parenthood, and all the other good stuff that is joked about in the movie. But “Knocked Up” goes well beyond that. There are jokes about kids on the internet, suspicious spouses, websites, fantasy baseball, and more. They even joke about “Star Wars,” “Back to the Future,” and “Spider-Man 3″ which wins it serious geek points in my book. So there’s something here to make you laugh if you’re a parent, if you’re dating, or if you’re single.

Another big part of what makes “Knocked Up” work is the supporting cast. You never know what background character is going to come out of nowhere and say one of the funniest lines of the movie. In one scene, the girlfriend of one of Ben’s friends comes out of nowhere and delivers the most bizarre commentary on pregnancy that you’ll ever hear. In another scene in an E! office, snide comments by a female executive sitting off to the side come out of nowhere and generate a lot of laughs. Doctors, nurses, and even little kids all make comments that upstage the main stars. Every single supporting character has a moment to shine in this movie. Even Ryan Seacrest and James Franco, in brief cameos, get some good jokes in.

That being said, Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen more than deliver (no pun intended) in their leading roles. Heigl proves she’s more than just a pretty face as Alison Scott. She’s funny, witty, and really puts herself on the line as she goes through the pregnancy in the role. From the morning sickness to the giant belly, she had the most at stake with her role and it paid off. Seth Rogen also does a great job as Ben Stone. He turns into the most unlikely romantic leading man since Steve Carell in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Rogen continues to display his wit and improvisational skills in “Knocked Up.” He actually gets a second beautiful partner with Paul Rudd as Pete. The two make a fun comedy duo and Rudd shows his comedy talents yet again. More than a match for him is Leslie Mann as Debbie, Pete’s wife. She’s beautiful and sassy and perfectly portrays the angst and rollercoaster emotions of the beautiful single turned mommy. Many of the married women in the audience will identify with her.

Another interesting thing about “Knocked Up” is that it is not really pro-life or pro-choice. Abortion is discussed as an option, but the movie doesn’t take a stand on it. Joanna Kerns pushes her daughter to have an abortion then have a ‘real child’ later. Simultaneously, Harold Ramis tells Ben having a kid was the best thing that ever happened to him. I think ultimately the film conveys a message that everything can work out in the end and it’s ultimately worth keeping a baby. It’s an interesting message from an otherwise raunchy comedy.

What Didn’t Work:
First off, I’ve got to say that I watched this movie next to a guy who brought his 6-year-old daughter to the movie and had her in his lap for the entire thing. Even more baffling was that there were other parents that had even younger kids watching “Knocked Up.” The language, sex scenes, and such were all totally inappropriate for kids that age. These folks make a pretty good case for requiring people to have a license to procreate.

The only thing I wasn’t crazy about with “Knocked Up” was the extremely raunchy humor. It’s obviously going to appeal to a lot of audience members, but I didn’t care for all of it. The movie would have been just as fun and entertaining without it. And from a business perspective, I think it probably could have made more money as a PG-13 film than an R rated one.

“Knocked Up” is also over 2 hours long. While many people might have a problem with this, I found that the time flew by.

The Bottom Line:
With a great cast and hilarious performances, “Knocked Up” is easily the funniest movie of 2007.

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