Monday, September 10, 2007

Knocked Up

The verdict: Warm, funny and engaging. Don't believe all the hype, but this well written, well acted, romantic slacker comedy shouldn't disappoint.

The rating: 7/10

Judd Apatow's rise to the top of Hollywood's comedy crew has gathered so much momentum of late, you could be forgiven for thinking he came from nowhere, but that's not quite true. He's already produced and/or written a few movies for Jim Carrey and (ahem) Will Ferrell, but he first sharpened his pencil on some quality tv shows, writing for both 'Larry Sanders' and the short-lived but under-rated 'Freaks and Geeks'. However, it was with 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' that Apatow became something of a name that audiences would recognise.

Many of the same crew from that movie - except, save a pretty funny cameo, Steve Carell - are re-united here, and the slacker themes are also revisited. Seth Rogen takes top billing this time, as Ben, a twenty-something bong-smoking Canadian jew, living illegally in the U.S. on the proceeds of an personal injury claim until his fledgling porn website (flesh of the is launched. Meanwhile Alison, played by the beautiful Katherine Heigl, is promoted to presenter on the E! Network, and decides to celebrate by going out on the town with her older sister Debbie. In the club, the paths of these two characters cross, one thing leads to another and.. well.. I'm not spoiling anything here am I? I mean it's called 'Knocked Up', but it's not about tennis, you can guess what happens next!

The concept of this movie is so simple, it's amazing that it's any good. Essentially following these characters' efforts to cope with the imminent arrival of a big change in their lives, if the people involved weren't realistic and likeable, this film would be a disaster. Thankfully Apatow's script and an excellent cast make this a fun, enjoyable movie.

Rogen and Heigl are both great in the leads, and Paul Rudd is another familiar face from 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' making a welcome appearance. Rudd and Rogen's trip to Vegas in particular is a memorable sequence, and if you've never heard of 'pink-eye' before, then you may need to see this film.

The sense of humour is part 'The Office', part 'American Pie', but what makes Apatow's comedy so engaging is that each character has an identity, rather than just a 'motivation', or a plot-related reason for being on screen. Even the bit players have a personality, such as the candidate gynaecologists, or Ben's slacker buddies, and these aren't simple stereotypes such as 'the jock' or 'the nerd', each character has idiosyncrasies that make them funny. It's a subtle, but effective approach, and needs a good cast to pull it off. (Fnar fnar! - Ed)

I'm not sure how much more I need to say on this one really folks. If you enjoyed 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' and you're looking for the perfect date movie, read no further, just get out and see this one...

However, be prepared for next year, because Judd Apatow has 'arrived' in Hollywood, and he's cranking up the production line to eleven. Next summer he'll be churning em out for Jack Black ('The Dewey Cox Story'), Will Ferrell ('Step Brothers') and *cough* Adam Sandler ('You Don't Mess With The Zohan'). The jury's out as to the potential quality of any of those (The Will Ferrell one should be good - Ed) but right about now, Apatow is pretty much the guy Hollywood comedians need to work with.

No comments:

/** Amazon Affiliates code /** Google Analytics Code