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Knocked Up

A movie directed by Judd Apatow

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Better Than a One Night Stand

  • Apr 9, 2010
In the summer of 2007, Judd Apatow made a follow up to his 2005 hit, the 40-Year Old Virgin.  Virgin was a pretty good movie that was actually quite funny and somehow heartfelt.  But it also took what was actually a pretty ridiculous premise and ran with it.  It's comical and fun.  Knocked Up was what followed, and it was actually a pretty good movie.

Knocked Up focuses on two different people.  The first is Ben Stone (Seth Rogen... who has been in every other comedy since).  He's a lazy guy who hangs with his friends all day trying to get a website up that shows you just where you can find nuditiy in specific films.  It doesn't have any money coming in but it doesn't matter.  He's having fun.  The time of his life, more or less.  The other character is Allison Scott (played by Katherine Heigl).  Unlike Ben she's working a good job at E! News, gets up everyday and has a strict schedule.  One day Allison decides to cut back and go with her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) out to the club.  There she runs into Ben, gets a little drunk and they go back to Allison's place (which is with her Sister Debbie) and they fool around, but are too drunk to use a condom (they try, you have to give them some credit for trying, right?). 

At first Allison wants to move on and pretend like nothing happened.  Except she can't when she starts suffering from morning sickness and realizes that she is pregnant.  Perhaps it won't be so bad... if Ben is willing to work with her.  And that could take a lot of time.  The formula is simple.  A busy woman rising in her career is now having to deal with a baby that put a wrench in her plans... and a man who isn't ready to take on any responsibility in his life.  The only thing original about Knocked Up's premise is that it has Seth Rogen dropping F-Bombs in every other scene.  But it's hardly a bad movie.  It works rather well.  There are a lot of funny moments in the film and a pretty good cast of supporting characters, including Paul Rudd.  If you're the type that needs an unpredictable movie... I can't imagine why you'd even think a movie called "Knocked Up," would be a movie hell bent on keeping you in suspense.  It won't.  It's a comedy.  It still has a pretty good story, though.

The story mostly pulls through because of the funny moments, which are numerous, and because of some of the characters who are all around likable.  Regardless, some of it works.  Athough as with many of Judd Apatow's movies, some of the comedy just carries on for a little too long.  There are some jokes that pad the length of the movie out.  Others that Apatow just sticks in there that have nothing to do with the movie at all.  Likewise, if you're offended by profanity, you may wonder if Judd Apatow and his writers can ever make a joke without dropping a swear.  For the most part it's hilarious because of the tone and everything... but a movie that is simply about two peoples experience with an accidental pregnancy shouldn't be quite two hours long--most of which comes from jokes that overstay their welcome.  In its defense, Knocked Up doesn't get as distracted as some of the other movies by the Apatow gang.  It's just to say that there are times when it couldn't hurt to cut some things out.  Sure, those extra jokes are funny but the story in Knocked Up is actually pretty good.

Many are quick to point out Apatow's dialog as his strength.  And Apatow can do it.  He actualy has some wit to him.  As I said, however, it would be interesting to see if he could craft really good dialog without being overstuffed with swears.  I'm by no means offended by swears in a movie (many of you have read enough from me to know that) but sometimes it makes you wonder if Apatow realizes that some of the moments would be funny without the word "Fuck" thrown in there.  I only say this because he uses it so much it's actually... not funny in some lines of dialog.  It sometimes turns what might've been a crafty line into something a little less crafty. 

Yet Apatow can still make some of his films somewhat heartfelt.  Knocked Up happens to fall into that.  The characters, for the most part, are likable.  At least the main characters.  Much of that comes from being played well by the cast.  And strangely enough there is a bit of honesty concerning the film.  Judd Apatow, who is actually married to Leslie Mann (the one who plays Debbie) talked about how there were certain aspects of the movie thrown in there, which they pulled from their own life.  Among them, the moment in which Ben and Allison are screaming obscenities at each other at a Doctor's office.  While Apatow gets a little oversensational with his use of obscenities, his characters are at least human and three dimensional.  It might be hard to get over some of the language, but at least it doesn't detract much from the enjoyment. 

As I mentioned earlier, perhaps Knocked Up's biggest problem is that it just doesn't know when to end.  So much of the movie is padded out.  Not necessarily just from jokes that overstay their welcome, but also from moments that, for the most part, add nothing to the film.  Ben is a lazy slob, we know this, but do we really have to spend so much time paying attention to his friends when they don't really seem to be there for much purpose?  And what about the overly long stay in Vegas?  There's a joke in which Paul Rudd has to get a bunch of chairs because he's high.  At two hours and twelve minutes... Knocked Up is just too long for the type of story it tells.

The movie often comes under some fire.  Knocked Up and Judd Apatow have often been accused of sexism.  Katherine Heigl, in particular, was in the movie and detested it claiming that all the female characters are portrayed as stuck up, no fun and rather mean while all the men are fun, jolly guys.  Katherine Heigl decided to remedy this by then starring in The Ugly Truth which was about... a stuck up, no fun, mean woman.  And yes, many of the women in the film really do come off as up tight, but Heigl should be glad they're not... well... idiots like the majority of the men.  Or sneaky such as Paul Rudd's character.  And let's not forget the Dr. who delivers her baby is probably the biggest asshole in the film.  It's not that I think little of Katherine Heigl's criticism, it's more so the fact that I think that's just the kind of character Heigl and Mann were asked to play rather than a highly sexist attitude.

In the end Knocked Up is a good movie worth seeing, but it shows why Judd Apatow isn't for everyone.  It isn't exactly the raunchy humor, it's his overly long scripts overstuffed with jokes that can make some of his films.  I don't think I've ever seen a movie produced by the Apatow gang where my first thought wasn't immediately, "It's too long."  It's a fun movie--maybe even the one to see to figure out if Judd Apatow is for you.  If he is, you can safely start going through the rest of his repetoire (from 40 Year Old Virgin and on, preferably).  If not, it's unlikely anything else done by Apatow is going to be that pleasing.

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April 10, 2010
I wasn't exactly impressed with this movie but then again, I wasn't annoyed with it either. I dunno, the story was good, but it was a little well far-fetched. Did Apatow also direct "Zack and Miri make a Porno"?
April 10, 2010
Zack and Miri Make a Porno was a Kevin Smith film.  I happen to think Smith is a better director than Apatow, although Zack and Miri wasn't his best.  Zack and Miri just happened to have Rogen in the there. 
April 10, 2010
ok. Cool. Thanks for reminding me. Rogen is such a familiar face that I am getting confused.
April 10, 2010
Yeah, for a moment it seemed like he was in every new comedy that came out.
More Knocked Up reviews
Quick Tip by . June 25, 2010
This movie was funny from beggining to end. It shows alot about how life really is, you may not want it but somtimes it just comes as a suprise to you.
Quick Tip by . August 28, 2009
A modern day, heartwarming unconventional love story. Awwwwwwwwwwww :)
review by . December 06, 2007
When I found out that Seth Rogen ("Forty-Year-Old Virgin," "Freaks and Geeks") would be headlining a comedy with the gorgeous Katherine Heigl ("Grey's Anatomy," "Roswell," "Just Bring It"), I knew it would be comedic gold. Instead, "Knocked Up," directed by "Forty-Year-Old Virgin" navigator, Judd Apatow, is a dull comedy with only flashes of brilliance from Apatow and Rogan's previous outing. In "Knocked Up," Heigl plays Alison, an up-and-comer at E! Entertainment Television who goes out on the …
review by . November 20, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Hollywood films have a peculiar relationship with the institution of marriage. On the one hand, it is depicted as lifeless and loveless, as without any inherent interest or dramatic tension. On the other hand, it is shown to be that towards which every self-absorbed or driven man and woman is ultimately destined, and as their only possible means of redemption from all of the stupid and insensitive things they do, and from the ambitions that lead only to loneliness and isolation. These days, Hollywood …
review by . October 26, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
After having this movie compared to the 40-year Old Virgin, I was expecting a lot more comedy out of this movie. It had very few laughs and the drama wasn't good enough to warrent more than three stars.    Some of the scenes were a little graphic when the baby was born. The father was a real loser and you wonder why the mother wants to give him a chance (he was living off an inheritance that had run out and had no ambition towards a job). Also, his friends were quite annoying.   & …
review by . September 27, 2007
Bringing out the ugly! What really makes this film great and uncomfortable and funny is how it lets us see ourselves. In only a few moments Ben Stone is transformed from sweetly funny stoner into a shouting, mean-spirited, insensitive child. Pete retreats selfishly from a wife, Debbie who suffocates him with insane, but strangely familiar, expectations. All the players at some point become irrational, and this is where Alison (Hiegl's character) escapes criticism. Because she is pregnant, any outburst, …
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this movie


Unwanted pregnancy might sound like a risky subject for slapstick comedy, but Knocked Up is from writer-director Judd Apatow--so we are in the hands of a man who likes to push things. And like Apatow's predecessor, The 40-Year-Old VirginKnocked Up is a shaggy crowd-pleaser, a comedy strewn with vulgarity but with a sweet heart at its center. A one-night stand between the utterly mismatched Ben (Seth Rogen, his first starring role) and Alison (Katherine Heigl) results in said pregnancy, and the two people reunite for mutual support--even though they barely know each other. Ben's a slob who lives with four other guys, all of whom share the same stunted approach to maturity; Alison is a new on-air personality at the E! channel. That these two eventually develop a shared understanding and affection is perhaps the movie's biggest stretch (some of the male-humor jokes amongst the guys are idiotic enough to test anybody's hope of civilizing them).

Rogen and Heigl don't really jump off the screen, but, to be fair, the movie frequently needs them to play straight while the supporting cast cuts up. Virgin vets Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are around to supply some humor, as Alison's sister and brother-in-law, and the four idiots who live with Ben (Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Siegel, and Martin Starr) are in their own zone of sophomoric bad taste. Still, by 40-Year-Old Virgin standards, this movie doesn't ...
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