Knocked Up’ a knock out
Vail, CO, Colorado
If the title alone leads you to believe that “Knocked Up” is a dirty, dumb comedy full of potty humor and tasteless sex jokes, try not to judge a book by its cover.
Oh, and I think the promo poster features a smirking portrait of Seth Rogen (a dumb-looking fat guy), which doesn’t help. As it turns out, Judd Apatow’s latest (mastermind behind “The 40-year-old Virgin”) is genuinely hilarious and not as shallow as it looks.
Rogen plays Ben Stone, an ambitionless, not terribly attractive 20-something who spends his days taking hits off the bong with his slacker friends. Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl) is a beautiful career girl who is working her way up as a TV personality. In one ill-advised, alcohol-induced encounter after a night at the club, Scott gets knocked up, and Stone tries on a few different coping costumes, while Scott apprehensively braces herself for motherhood.
The lewd yet witty dialogue and recognizable quirkiness of the characters are what make “Knocked Up” such a giggle fest. Although it sounds unrealistic that a guy the caliber of Stone could score a girl the caliber of Scott, it all plays out very convincingly, right from the moment Scott awakens to the sight of Stone’s less-than-perky, bare arse in her bed.
Debbie (Leslie Mann), Scott’s controlling and uptight sister, is naturally disapproving of Stone, while her husband (Paul Rudd) and Stone hit it off almost immediately.
While Scott hopes feverishly that her growing belly won’t jeopardize her appearance-driven slot on TV and buries herself in baby books, Stone and his friends realize their idea for a Web business ” ranking the sex appeal of famous people ” is not so innovative and already has an established counterpart. Thus, they revert back to their favored line of work – getting high and drinking beer.
Harold Ramis makes a brief appearance as Stone’s father and tries to talk some sense into his son, who, we begin to realize, possesses some degree of intelligence and potential to become more than, well, a stoned couch potato. Stone goes through phases of charming Scott with a show of dedication to the project of their impending parenthood, but she is not convinced, and neither is he. Children are clearly a nuance to Stone, who attempts to bond with Scott’s nieces by playing fetch in the backyard (with the children, not a dog) and falling off of their trampoline.
It’s clear that beyond his disheveled, immature visage, Stone really wants to do the right thing. But being disheveled and immature … not to mention jobless and devoid of any responsibility, is just so addictive …
Apparently, “Knocked Up” was originally slated to be a follow-up to “40-year-old Virgin,” which would have been appropriate as both follow the same vein of a plot, i.e., misfit seeks redemption. If you recall laughing your nostrils off in “40-year-old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” might one-up it in terms of explosive chuckles. You’ll laugh until your face hurts.