- Judd Apatow
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Monday, September 03, 2007
Sassy Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) gets a promotion at Channel E! to appear as an on-camera reporter. That night she parties with her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) and after a few drinks too many ends up in bed with unemployed, chubby Ben (Seth Rogen). A few months later she finds out she’s pregnant and they both decide to give their relationship a try, just as Debbie and her husband Pete (Paul Rudd) are going through a rough patch.
Apatow served as producer, director and writer. His touch is all over the place, and even his actors belong to his usual gang. I’ve got to say that these faces are way fresher and funnier than the Ferrell-Stiller-Wilson-Vaughn combo that was so hot for a while, but it’s not only them, but Apatow’s writing and direction that make of it such an enjoyable ride. This isn’t a laugh-out-loud yarn as I though it would be, it’s actually a warm and somewhat truthful slice-of-life which feels honest and truly gets us involved. And which is, yes, funny, but in a more restrained and intelligent manner.
I absolutely loved how Apatow juxtaposes the stories of two people trying desperately to fall in love with that of two people continually struggling with their marriage. The latter isn’t a mere subplot thrown in there to add laughs, it’s actually a grounded portrait of what years of life together can do to a couple. I also loved that there’s no easy answers or a tidy ending to it; life is just not like that. This mish mash proves a fair and insightful contrast to very different stages of love, when everything is new and exciting and when everything is old and monotonous. Interesting way to present the story…
Sillier moments come in the form of Ben’s friends and their goings-on. These guys are up to no good, but they’re there for each other and that’s what matters to them. They also border on a thin line by which a bit more would’ve been over-the-top, but Apatow keeps it easy-going and the vibe remains low-key for the most part.
A few downsides are the bits involving gynecologists, the trip to Las Vegas (except the room chat) and a tendency to drag at times, something that makes the movie feel overlong. A few upsides are a confession from a club’s doorman, a self-parody by Ryan Seacrest and most of the witty dialogue involving pop culture references.
Seth Rogen, who had mostly done supporting roles before this breakthrough opportunity, is excellent as Ben and he’s sure to become the next big thing if he chooses wisely. He has an everyday quality to him that makes him relatable and he’s got the charisma as well. Katherine Heigl, on the other hand, is mostly good and gorgeous, but also stiff at times; I’m a big fan but I need more proof that she’s got what it takes to command a movie career. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are both spot-on as the troubled couple and their comedic timing is excellent. Supporting performances from Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Jason Begel and many more are good, although Harold Ramis’s acting leaves a lot to be desired.
“Their smiling faces point out my inability to enjoy life.”
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Other reviews of Knocked Up (2007): Groucho