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Overall Rating
4.11

Awesome46.08%
Worth A Look: 36.27%
Average: 7.84%
Pretty Bad: 1.96%
Total Crap: 7.84%

9 reviews, 48 user ratings


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Knocked Up
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by Erik Childress

"With Due Respect To Hot Fuzz, THIS Will Be The Best Comedy of 2007!"
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL: The 40 Year-Old Virgin is one of the most consistently brilliant comedies in the last decade and beyond. The Borat fiends can shanty about all they want, but that film was the real deal. It combined crude humor with an all-too-knowing slant towards male behavior and wrapped in a sweetness that makes it one of the best canít-change-the-channel-once-itís-on-cable films since its release just two years ago. Judd Apatow and his repertoire set the bar so high for themselves on his feature directorial debut that any five minutes without a laugh during their follow-up would be saddled as a bit of a disappointment. Itís too soon without the benefit of four, five or thirty more viewings of Knocked Up to rank it above or below Virgin. But I will be using all thirty of them to further confirm what I already know after one screening Ė that this DOES belong on the short list of the best comedies of the last twenty years.

Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) is living the high life with his slacker buddies (Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Martin Starr). Sharing a California home, the fivesome smoke weed and reenact American Gladiators in-between working on a new website that isnít exactly porn according to Ben. Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) is a production assistant at the E! network and sheís about to get her big break interviewing celebs on camera. One night at a club, the two meet, get drunk and have condom-free sex thanks to a semantic misinterpretation. Alison isnít exactly regret-free in the morning and, after a forgetful breakfast, the two donít see each other for the next eight weeks.

Then comes the morning sickness and decisions have to be made. Alison tracks Ben down who reacts poorly to the news at first, but after seeking out his dad (Harold Ramis) for counsel, he commits to seeing Alison through the pregnancy. Her sister, Debbie (Leslie Mann), a parent of two herself, doesnít have a lot of faith in Ben who strikes up a friendship with her hubby, Pete (Paul Rudd), who is suffering the downsides to freedom that comes with the responsibility of fatherhood.

You may be asking yourself why you need to see another child birthing film after cinemaís baby boom era of 1987 (Three Men and a Baby, Baby Boom), 1988 (For Keeps, Sheís Having a Baby), 1989 (Look Whoís Talking, Parenthood) or even Chris Columbusí 1995 entry to the genre, Nine Months. We can start on the pure laugh quotient alone and work around that; not that they leave us much time in-between what will be an engulfment of laughter from audiences. And God Bless Them!

Apatow knows precisely how to cast his projects and it helps when a little loyalty goes a long way. Benís household is a virtual reunion of Apatowís terrific and unheraldly cancelled shows, Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Jason Segel gets more laughs in his scenes with this material than a full season-and-a-half of the dreadful How I Met Your Mother. Jonah Hill (the eBay boot buyer from 40 Year-Old Virgin) and Baruchel (the star of Undeclared) each get their big laughs in and Martin Starr (virtually unrecognizable as once the biggest Geek amongst the Freaks) is the good sport as the constant butt of the filmís best running gag.

Leslie Mann (aka Mrs. Apatow) received an immediate pass into the modern comedy hall-of-fame with her drunken ďfrennnnnch toastĒ drive in Virgin. Benís monetary supplement may even be a nod to Mannís appearance as the ex-Hooterís girl in Adam Sandlerís Big Daddy. But even though she plays the suspicious shrew of the film, sheís given a fully-rounded character that comes full circle outside a club when she realizes the constraints of family have caught up with her as well. Paul Rudd (aka arguably the funniest man on the planet) at first remains firmly in the background as Mannís confined hubby but then finds new life inspired by Benís free-living attitude. And when he does, Rudd doubles the frequency of the laughs through his arcane observations and his almost otherworldly ability to know just how long to take a pregnant pause.

Rogen, an Apatow veteran of both TV shows and his breakout turn in Virgin, solidifies his place amongst the best of the current crop of comedic actors. He can deliver a comeback almost as fast as his droll observations of any room heís placed within and that makes him a supporting player youíd kill to have in the frame. But heís the lead here and Rogen doesnít succumb to just mugging his way through improvisations hoping the laughter will drown out a lack of dramatic depth. This is a very good performance that teeters the various sexes of the audience to questions of his sincerity, maturity and ability to take charge when he self-consciously knows heís not an alpha male. Itís the little confessional moments of his own insecurities that humanize Rogenís Ben and make his courtship of the ďprettierĒ Alison more endearing to the most superficial of observers. Heigl may not get a lot of the bigger laughs thrown the way of the males in the film, but she has a much tougher job in selling the relationship. Alison and Ben are in no way the ideal couple and when they click, itís the result of finding a mutually common ground that the other can get along with. And when they fight, it doesnít feel like a plot necessity. Their words contain the harsh tone of truth and frustration that both men and women will find themselves identifying with, even if its with the opposite sex.

Aside from the brilliant subtle bits that Apatow works into the screenplay (consider the understated contrast between Benís website and Alisonís celebrity day job), Knocked Up is near non-stop on the giant laughs from minute one to minute one-thirty-four. Thatís right. Including the credits (which youíll probably be laughing for five minutes just recalling the film), Knocked Up runs 130-plus minutes. The knee-jerk reaction is to scorn a comedy that runs on that long, but how can you when the film justifies the running time by delivering whiplash comedy complemented by astute examination of behavioral instincts from the various sexes, status and classes that most dramas need remedial courses to recognize? When Ryan Seacrest is able to hysterically poke needles into the pot-oí-luck heís fallen into and leaves audiences giving him his props for it, something special is clearly happening. And if Seacrest is getting a shout-out then I also have to give it up for Kristen Wiig from SNL who steals her scenes as Heiglís colleague, Charlyne Yi as another stoned roommate whose line readings are so giddily off-step it provokes instant laughs, Ken Jeong as an attentively insensitive gynecologist and Craig Robinson (from TV's The Office) as a bouncer who lays out his job requirements in a hysterical monologue.

Before you go into Knocked Up, every serious movie fan should make up a list of their favorite comedies of the past two decades. If Old School is on it, you are disqualified. But no matter what is, scratch one off of it Ė because Knocked Up is going to knock it off eventually and its earned the spot.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15742&reviewer=198
originally posted: 03/22/07 02:39:03
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell very funny 4 stars
8/31/12 roscoe hilarious, but it went on for way too long 4 stars
7/24/11 art I change my mind,IT"S DISGUSTING! 1 stars
7/14/09 the dork knight The men are too angelic, the women evil shrews. Still, could do worse... 4 stars
6/17/09 art SAD! 1 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. KH is a mormon?! 4 stars
9/14/08 Natalie Myers Too bad KH has gotten mean. Heard she might go back to Mormonism. But would they have her? 2 stars
8/20/08 Phil M. Afficiando Very quick, inventive, spontaneous. A 4.5 rounded up cuz it's hard to do this genre well. 5 stars
8/17/08 mr.mike Agree with daveyt. Heigl and Mann are very good. 3 stars
8/10/08 Samantha Pruitt very funny and smart, but i thought Superbad had more laughs, love Seth Rogan! 4 stars
5/24/08 Karrie Millheim Funny and romantic in a way, funny seeing Seacrest cussin 5 stars
4/17/08 daveyt sort of amusing, ish... 3 stars
1/31/08 Beck Impressive love story breaking free of the hollywood story book. 5 stars
1/20/08 Carmen Crowe Used to like Katherine Heigl, but would rather see he knocked down than this! 2 stars
1/18/08 X Wang Funnier than I expected - and it actually has story line 4 stars
1/03/08 Annoyed Simply a horrible movie; unbelievable, full of stupid, un-likable characters. Not funny. 1 stars
12/17/07 gr Seth Rogen was fantastic! 4 stars
12/14/07 Bnorm So funny...maybe cause Steely Dan gargles my balls hahaha 5 stars
12/08/07 Sam Eli Hilarious and touching. That's all I have to say 5 stars
10/17/07 Beau It was pretty funny! catherine heigi was brilliant! 4 stars
10/16/07 fools♫gold Real in all ways - everything a true movie-thinker wishes for. 5 stars
9/21/07 rude if you didnt like the pot and mushroom scenes you are nuts, and bearded guy bashing is grea 5 stars
9/06/07 Good Taste Your average chick flick and its not FUNNY! would never watch again 1 stars
9/03/07 lisa An absolutly boring film the best thing about the film was seeing the credits come up! 1 stars
8/31/07 MP Bartley Touches the heart, rubs the funny bone...you KNOW these characters. 4 stars
8/02/07 Luisa Very funny...with real issues...great flick! 4 stars
8/01/07 AJ Muller Just a fucking funny flick. Real in certain ways, fake in others, but hilarious. 5 stars
7/20/07 Ole Man Bourbon Entertaining, but often ridiculously implausible and even stressful at times. 4 stars
7/19/07 Jake B The Year's Best Film! 5 stars
7/17/07 Emma freiken hilarious!!! lame in some parts, but mainly hilarious!!! 4 stars
6/18/07 Aussihunter Better than 40 year old virgin. No i'm serious it is. Seth Rogen rules 5 stars
6/15/07 Cheeky So unplanned pregnancies just magically 'work out' for the best. Yeah right. 1 stars
6/12/07 bjjones Only for low-class very immature men...Horrible movie! 1 stars
6/11/07 Lynn Unbelievably funny film. Sex scene with Allison pregnant had me laughing so hard! 5 stars
6/09/07 Simon Excellently hilarious. 5 stars
6/06/07 gr117 Hi-friggin-larious! 5 stars
6/06/07 party boy the movie was awesome if anybody disagrees kiss my @$$ 5 stars
6/05/07 Nolamc slap your leg laughter! Loved it! 5 stars
6/04/07 lee you will laugh the whole way through, and you have every right to. 5 stars
6/04/07 Doug Fantastic. 5 stars
6/04/07 James Eric as good as it gets 5 stars
6/04/07 Liz Wonderful comedy. Heartwarming but also gut-wrenchingly hilarious! Perfect. 5 stars
6/04/07 baba awesome 5 stars
6/04/07 daniel k perfect 5 stars
6/03/07 Damon Funny and poignant. Best comedy I have seen in years. 5 stars
6/02/07 Dan Very enjoyable romcom, though the Heigl-Rogan relationship was too unbelievable to buy into 4 stars
6/02/07 Abbath Funniest movie in years. Too many funny lines to reminice on. 5 stars
6/02/07 not a moron Worse than Bad Boys 2. A LOT worse! 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Jun-2007 (R)
  DVD: 25-Sep-2007

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