There was a time when we wouldn’t be able to discuss a movie with the title Knocked Up in polite company. It wasn’t that long ago that censors wouldn’t allow Lucille Ball to even utter the word “pregnant” on television, let alone use language that wouldn’t be out of place at a trucker’s convention.
Times certainly have changed.
The provocatively titled Knocked Up gives us an r-rated look at an unlikely couple going through the ups and downs of an unplanned pregnancy. As the title suggests, it’s rude, kinda crude but it’s also the funniest movie so far this year.
Alison (Grey’s Anatomy’s Katherine Heigl) is a pretty twenty-something celebrating her new job as an E! Network correspondent. On a wild night out she meets her polar opposite in Ben (Seth Rogen), an unemployed slacker whose biggest ambition is to run his own website called fleshofthestars.com.
They dance and flirt and many drinks later they end up back at her house. The next morning after their booze fueled one-night-stand he has trouble remembering what happened while she would rather forget it.
Cut to eight weeks later. While interviewing James Franco about Spider-Man 3 on the E! set Alison gets morning sickness. She’s pregnant, and is sure that Ben is the father.
Turns out Ben isn’t such a bad guy once you get past the unemployment, drug habit and penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. He steps up and wants to take responsibility. Trouble is, he doesn’t really know how.
From this point on Knocked Up slides into a more conventional farce about the difficulties of raising a family and fear of commitment but is still peppered with loads of laughs. Writer / director Judd (40 Year Old Virgin) Apatow has managed to find the delicate balance between the traditional romantic comedy elements of the story and the bawdy frat boy humor.
There is no one scene here as memorable as the chest waxing scene in Apatow’s last film, The 40 Year Old Virgin—Steve Carell’s shouts of “Kelly Clarkson!” when his hairy chest is stripped of its fur is the stuff of classic comedy—but minute for minute Knocked Up has more laughs than Virgin. It’s worth the price of admission alone to see Ryan Seacrest, mercilessly parodying himself, have a meltdown on the E! set.
Great White North audiences will find much to enjoy here. Knocked Up may be the most Canadian film released so far this year. Seth Rogen is from British Columbia, and in the movie plays a guy from… BC! Fellow Canuck Jay Baruchel plays one of his stoner roommates; their frat house is covered in Canadian flags and posters and even Cirque du Soleil makes an appearance.
Knocked Up’s story may be a little frayed around the edges, but Apatow with the help of Rogen’s chubby charm and a great supporting cast (including the hilarious Paul Rudd), keep the laughs fresh.