New movie comedy Knocked Up asks the basic question of whether a career woman can decide to have a child out of wedlock and still maintain a successful professional career.
This question is put to the test when E! Entertainment reporter Alison (Katherine Heigl) goes to a club with her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) to celebrate Alison’s promotion at work. Some beers are drunk and Alison meets Ben (Seth Rogen).
They go back to her place and have unprotected sex. After she sobers up, Allison realizes what kind of guy she’s just been with. His career plans, she discovers, center around his desire to begin a website with his friends devoted to naming celebrity nude scenes.
She also realizes that his personality does not mesh with her more ambitious one. She bids him a fond farewell. However, she learns later that she’s pregnant, but these two are polar opposites.
And this is yet another one of those movies where the lead actor can be fat, slothful and obscene, but the woman looks like a model out of Elle Magazine. And how can she actually think he could be a good father after talking to him? That is the basic problem with the movie.
It wants us to believe that this woman, so mindful of her career and so in tune with how she is perceived by the public, will stay with a man with no ambition, no job or reliable source on income. It’s as if the movie believes that she can’t do it without him, regardless of what kind of a shlub he is.
The movie also goes to great lengths to mesh raunchy and romantic interludes but misses the mark more often than it hits it.
For example, in a scene where Alison visits Ben’s apartment, she’s entertained by his friends while he dresses prior to their dinner date.
Of course, there is porn on the television. Of course, someone emerges from a bedroom and blathers on about bodily functions. And of course, she looks mildly appalled. So many scenes play like that. They go for the easy laugh when a more thought-provoking one could have been achieved.
Imagine if his friends were trying to act normal but their stoner tendencies kept intruding and breaking the facade – great comic moment missed.
An even more troublesome scene finds Ben and Alison’s brother-in-law Pete (Paul Rudd) traveling to Las Vegas after Pete has an argument with his wife. Consequently, a very pregnant Alison and her sister Debbie head to the club in revenge, leading to two of the most obnoxious and wince-inducing scenes I’ve seen in a comedy.
A door bouncer does not allow the women to enter the club, and is accused by Debbie of not letting her in because she is not “young and perky like the women in line.”
The bouncer’s response? He cries, and admits that he is filling a quota and lets them enter anyway. It is the type of scene that leaves jaws agape. It’s overkill. The audience doesn’t know if we should laugh or feel sympathy for him. So as a result we have no response at all.
Another problem is leading man Seth Rogen, who may not be up to the bill.
And aren’t you tired of movies relying on the old “trip to Vegas” scene to fill in gaps of a weak or non-existent story?
The film was directed by Michael Apatow, whose previous film was the successful and acclaimed 40-year-old Virgin (2005).
Knocked Up wants to fashion itself as both a chick-flick and raunchy male-testosterone comedy but fails to deliver on either end.
Knocked Up is not as progressive as it thinks it is.