Knocked Up (2007)

reviewed by
Homer Yen


"Knocked Up" Delivers the Goods
by Homer Yen
(c) 2007

"Knocked Up" finds a delicate balance between a sentimental chick-grows-up-flick and a pseudo-stoner comedy. Ben (Seth Rogen) is as average-looking but fun-loving as they come. Entertainment for him comes by way of inhaling a bong while donning a scuba mask, boxing opponents with gloves set afire, and setting up a website enterprise that features celebrity nudity. His greatest feat, however, is making $900 in savings last so darn long. He is surrounded by his motley group of goofballs. Their astounding level of irresponsibility, among other funny things, leads them to contract a serious bout of Red Eye. You just have to watch the explanation.

Alison (Katherine Heigl) is sweet and lovely but somewhat of an underachiever. She lives in the pool house of her control-freak sister (Leslie Mann) and her brother-in-law who is unable to cope with the control-freak-sister. Scoring a big promotion at work for the E! channel (which provides lots of opportunities for celebrity cameos), Alison and her sister go to a local club. And you know how the story goes. Alison dons her beer-goggles. Ben's sense of unbridled humor is not the same as being good looking. Unsafe sex ensues. And 8 weeks later, Alison has an "aha" moment when she can't stop throwing up and she's putting on a few pounds.

What happens is the while Ben and Alison probably would never have ever seen each other again, Alison feels that Ben should know. And they both decide to try to graduate from one-night-stand infatuations to loving and romantic partners. Of course, this new direction takes some getting used to for this couple. And, among other bits, there's an especially funny sequence in which Ben just can't bring himself to have sex with a pregnant Alison because he's afraid that he might hurt the fetus. You just have to watch the explanation.

There is the obligatory act where Ben and Alison find that this arrangement might be more trouble than it's worth. Alison, now obviously pregnant, goes with her sister back to that club where they encounter resistance and tenderness from a bouncer. Ben heads off to Vegas Alison's brother-in-law where, at a strip club, Ben hilariously warns him that he's in danger of getting red eye. You just have to watch the explanation.

As you can tell, a film like this is better seen than described. That's a good thing. And "Knocked Up" is relevant, hip, and up-to-the-minute. It's not just the peripheral references that inhabit their setting. The characters talk about Spiderman 3. There is a reference to the hit-TV show LOST. And even the ubiquitous Ryan Seacrest is a good sport as he lampoons his celebrityhood. The film is a surprisingly fresh, if potty-mouthed and somewhat long, rendering of romance and responsibility in 2007. But all is forgivable, because the material is always engaging. These people are very funny, but also likable and real.

Grade:        B+
S:        3 out of 3
L:        3 out of 3
V:        1 out of 3


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