Knocked Up is writer/director Judd Apatow’s follow up to the highly successful The 40 Year Old Virgin.
The film stars Katherine Heigl as Alison, a responsible, career minded woman who has just been promoted as anchorwoman for E! Entertainment News. Whilst celebrating her new job at a nightclub, she meets immature and unemployed slacker Ben (Seth Rogen). They both get drunk and have sex at Alison’s house, a decision they will both come to regret 8 weeks later when Alison finds out she is pregnant. After considering an abortion, Alison decides to go ahead with the pregnancy along with Ben who offers his full support.
Meanwhile, Alison’s sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) and her husband Pete (Paul Rudd) have hit a rough patch in their marriage which inadvertently affects Alison’s and Ben’s relationship.
Much like his previous work, Apatow continues to take an unabashed approach to relationships and sex, whilst also focusing on the differences between men and women when they are faced with the responsibility (and bewildering aspect) of parenthood.
Apatow’s script features many of the (at times overbearing) crude aspects of his previous film, but it also contains a surprisingly sweet vibe to counterbalance its vulgar short comings. The dialogue is cracking and features some hilarious one liner’s and oft funny obscure references to various movies, (Ben’s simple yet effective two word reaction to Alison’s pregnancy is one of the best lines this year.)
Knocked Up examines how Ben must lead a responsible life if he wishes to be a responsible father. He and his friends are all shaped in the dreaded Jackass mold: Pot smoking morons one and all who take pleasure in stupid stunts and smutty humor, (hardly a bastion of security for Alison and their baby).
The part is played well by the charming Seth Rogen, however his is an actor who comes off much better in small doses, as seen with his hilarious supporting turn in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Katherine Heigl is also good as Alison, yet she does not make that much of an impression when compared to her co-stars, which include an in form Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann who is very good as the overbearing sister.
Many moments within the film (Alison throwing Ben out of the car; Ben cursing out Alison’s doctor on the phone) were based on Apatow’s and his wife Leslie Mann’s birth of their first daughter Maude (who also appears in the film along with her younger sister Iris), so it is to no surprise that the film comes off as a very realistic manner, seeing as its writer and director has had experience with the highs and lows of childbirth and marriage. It also features one of the more realistic birth scenes shot for the silver screen.
For all of its realism and biting humor, Knocked Up ultimately suffers from poor pacing and a penchant for the offensive which is hard to ignore. Yet for all of its filthy tirades, Knocked Up is perhaps one of the more sentimental and honorable morality tales this year, which features more educational value and entertainment than all of the after school specials in the world.