by RISHI AGRAWAL
Knocked Up is the latest R-rated comedy from writer-director Judd Apatow, best known for The 40-Year-Old Virgin. As you can expect from Apatow, this movie is filled with raunchy humor and plenty of gross moments. But, as you can also expect from Apatow, there are a lot of realistic moments as well. Not to mention that this is a film that explores the deeper truths about relationships, marriage, and having children.
The premise is fairly straightforward. Ben Stone (Seth Rogen), a slacker who lives with other dope fiends has a one-night stand fueled by a lot of alcohol with Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl), a burgeoning television star for the E! network. Eight weeks later, Alison finds out that she is pregnant and contacts Ben. Alison decides to have the baby, and a relationship is formed between Alison and Ben, as they prepare to be parents.
The first thing that anyone wants to know about any comedy is whether or not it is funny. If you don’t mind a little dirty humor, this could be one of the funniest films you will see in years. Though the filthy moments probably stand out, there are so many kinds of humor in this film. Ben and his slacker friends are constantly making fun of each other, so there is plenty of jokes from that. We also get jokes about marriage from Alison’s sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) and her husband Pete (Paul Rudd). Plus we get funny moments from Debbie and Pete’s two daughters, not to mention pregnancy humor, relationship humor and the list goes on and on. And the humor is delivered in so many ways. There are extended jokes, one-liners, character-driven humor and visual gags. I can guarantee that almost everyone will find something funny about the film.
But here’s the weird thing. Even if the film wasn’t funny, I still think it would be pretty good. The film has so much to say about marriage and relationships and what different genders expect that, in some ways, it is more insightful than many dramas on the subject. We especially see this in Debbie and Pete’s relationship, where Debbie constantly criticizes Pete, which leads him to lie and deceive her to get away. We also learn something from Alison and Ben. Alison probably wouldn’t normally give Ben the time of day, but she learns to appreciate him. Ben, in turn, learns that sometimes, you have to take on a little responsibility. Finally, we learn that it is not a good idea for a guy to refrain from cutting his hair and shaving.
The film might feel a little long at 129 minutes, as most comedies usually hover in the 90-100 minute range. However, I don’t think we would see the deep portrayals of the characters in a shorter film. Besides, I am not sure what I would cut. Sure, some of the scenes might seem random, like one scene where Ryan Seacrest goes on a rant about celebrities, but many of those scenes are among the most entertaining in the film.
To say that this is a must-see film may be a bit of a stretch. I know there are a lot of people who will be turned off by the variety of humor. Also, those who are simply looking for a comedy might find some of the more serious portions a tiny bit tedious. But, when all is said and done, I cannot imagine this being a better film for the type of film it is.