Rated R; Directed by Judd Apatow; Starring Katherine Heigl, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd
Judd Apatow does it again. He takes a raunchy idea and makes a sweetheart of a film…with lots of raunch. He did it with The 40 Year Old Virgin and now he does it with Knocked Up. Face it — a movie about an unplanned pregnancy does not make a great idea for a hilarious comedy. Yet, the movie is a hilarious comedy. What’s surprising about the movie is that among the laughs there is a lot of heart.
Ben (Seth Rogen) is at best a slacker. Ben with all his roommates, who can find movie references in anything, are leading the unambitious good life Alison (Katherine Heigl) is a hard-working woman who has just earned a big promotion. The odds that these two would ever end up together or slim indeed, but one night the two meet each other at a nightclub, have more than a few drinks, and end up in each others’ arms. Their morning after shows up the lifestyle differences between the two, and the affair that should have lasted only one night, but eight weeks later a “happy event” occurs: Alison discovers she’s pregnant.
Apatow cast his film well. Rogen and Heigl are appealing actors and make Ben and Alison real characters who struggle through various decisions. Besides Ben’s roommates, who offer their own kind of moral support, there is Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd) as Alison’s sister and brother-in-law. They have their own issues, but their issues resonate with Be’sn and Alison’s. Everyone, I mean everyone, is funny, and the cast manages to make every low-brow joke work, and there are plenty. Some are bust-out-loud laughing, but there are plenty of chuckles and lots of nods of understanding. The cast also manages to find emotional dimensions to what could have been cardboard characters, so even among all those low-brow jokes there are incredibly touching moments (yeah, I choked up, what can I say?).
As writer, producer, and director, Judd Apatow creates some hilarious films and TV shows (“Freaks and Geeks” was his creation). Knocked Up is another hit. He doesn’t settle for the teenage sex-comedy humor, and though Knocked Up looks like that kind of comedy from the trailers, it offers a lot more for an adult audience. It also deserves that R rating – plenty of sex and drugs – hey, Seth is a slacker, remember? All I know is that I am already looking forward to Apatow’s next film.