The packed theater could mislead anyone into thinking that “Knocked Up” is a good movie for a date. It’s not. Rather than the typical romantic comedy, this movie was nothing like the previews led audiences to believe. The humor was extremely crass, and the outlook on love in the 21st century was bleak.
Written and directed by Judd Apatow, this film mimics his directorial debut, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Although raunchy humor proved successful in the first movie, Apatow pushes the limits of good taste by indulging in as much crude humor, nudity and drug use as he could manage to squeeze into an R-rated film. Where it was acceptable in the first film due to its marketing and the fact that it was a different genre of comedy, it failed miserably in this one.
The locker-room humor of adolescent males does not belong in a romantic comedy.
The film focuses on Alison (Katherine Heigl, “Love’s Enduring Promise,” “Romy and Michele: In the Beginning”) and her drunken decision to have sex with Ben (Seth Rogen, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “You, Me and Dupree”), some guy she meets in a bar. But rather than just having a one-night stand, she gets pregnant.
What could be worse than getting pregnant from a one-night stand? Imagine getting pregnant by a guy whose only ambition in life is to smoke pot and remain unemployed. Obviously this creates great drama and conflict for the burgeoning romance between the two main characters of the film.
This is also where a majority of the crude humor comes from: Ben. While it is not entirely unbelievable at the beginning of the film as it can lead to character development, it becomes less funny as it goes on, much like the introduction of the film.
Too much plot is sacrificed for character development that could have been cut. Instead, the film doesn’t quite work as a whole and runs over two hours long.
This is both its weakness and its strong point. While the film does tend to ramble at far too many intervals, the transformation that Ben undergoes is quite believable. Through his journey, the audience sees him begin to change and grow.
Ben’s transformation occurs visually as well. His clothes initially start out as nothing but T-shirts with obscene logos and jeans. As he begins to accept his responsibility and mature, his clothes become more posh or acceptable to Alison’s character. In one of the film’s climaxes, Ben and Alison look on as Alison’s sister and brother-in-law argue and possibly watch their marriage fall apart. In this scene, Ben and Alison are both wearing the same color tops: a white top layered on top of a red top. Ben’s visual transformation is complete, showing that he is moving toward her in his desire to change.
Yet it is still hard to care about such characters when there are so many things bombarding the screen to turn the audience off.
There are gross scenes randomly thrown in, like Alison throwing up when she first realizes she’s pregnant or a quick shot of her vagina as she’s giving birth, that are completely unnecessary. Ben’s roommates don’t change at all, and as a result, they are able to maintain that off-color comedy throughout the entire film. Alison’s sister and brother-in-law fight throughout the entire film and offer such horrible insights into the married life that they leave the audience hopeless for any relationship anywhere. Then there’s the F-word, which is bandied about so frequently by every actor on-screen (including cameos) that not even five minutes of the film can pass without it.
By the end, if the audience stuck around that long, they are desperately rooting for Ben and Alison as a couple and for Ben himself as he becomes someone the audience can care about. Thankfully, this transformation does occur, and the film does have a happy ending. It just takes a painfully long time to reach that point.