Saturday, November 15, 2008

Movie Review: Knocked Up

Undeniably funny, "Knocked Up" is what I am calling a hybrid movie; a trend that's really taken off in Hollywood. Basically, they're taking your classic "chick flick" and trying to make it *worthwhile* to the men who are dragged along with their women to the movies. This naturally means boobs and lots of them. It also means grown men (into their 30's) living and acting like giant 13-year-olds with driver's licenses. They call it "comedy" but the meaning of ‘comedy’ now and the comedy of about 20 years ago is very different.

The plot was easy to follow and the ending was (unfortunately) completely predictable. But you could enjoy it for the ridiculous situations, funny dialogue and the pithy sexuality of an unlikely pairing. Some things were right on the money which made them particularly relatable and all the funnier.

I was a little surprised by how graphic some parts were. I'm not necessarily opposed to some of the stuff they included about the whole maternity/ gynecology/ birthing process. By all means, let people know what they are getting themselves into! Those things were pretty accurate. Scarily sometimes.

Part of me wanted to say "Yeah! See what we women have to go through- Let's see some respect!" and some part of me wanted to crawl under the theater seat. Especially since I saw this movie just after becoming single and my date was a guy eight years younger than me who wasn’t even thinking about having children yet. I kept waiting for him to look over at me in shock and horror and say something to the effect of ‘OhMyGOd! You did that THREE times? Your body must be…destroyed down there! I’m outta here!”

Having a child in real life, is so…miraculous and intimate. Having it all up on that gigantic screen book-ended between adolescent humor and realistic horror made it seem…as Alison put it "all National Geographic".

A few things that bugged me:

Alison (main character played by Katherine Heigl)'s brother-in-law Pete: was repeatedly stated as being a "bad father and husband". This completely floored me. I'm not sure if the writers were trying to get the audience to protest or agree, but I couldn't understand *what* the poor guy was supposed to be doing differently!! <> Good looking, fit, educated, obviously financially well-off, dedicated to his kids, shruggingly resigned to settled married life and in love with (if bewildered about how to deal with) his emotionally strung out wife. Is it humanly possible to do better than that?!?! I don't think so! Girl… if YOU don’t want him…send him my way!

And their petty arguments were absurd! True he should have told his wife Debbie that he wanted to play Fantasy Baseball with his guy friends instead of saying he was going to work. BUT she should have given him chances to have time with his friends and time alone. No one wants to be smothered. If she'd found more things to keep herself occupied with (like I don't know, maybe a part time job!? Possibly a hobby?!? ) then she wouldn't need his constant and undivided attention. She'd have friends, career satisfaction and activities of her own to fill her time when she wasn't occupied with their kids.

And as for the "you should have thought to invite me to go to see Spider man III" pouty comment- no one should be expected to be a mind reader. First of all, he went to the movie alone to have some alone time; and secondly, if she'd wanted to see Spiderman with him, she should have brought it up! And if he saw it alone and then asked her to see it with him- by all means- go! I couldn't believe she kicked him out of the house over that mess. It was outrageous. I wanted to slap her. Repeatedly.

I can sympathize with Debbie in some ways though. It's not easy to deal with the inevitability of becoming an off-the-market, over-the-hill mom. Society is so unkind to mothers. I would advise her three things, maybe four.

1) Appreciate your husband for what his is and isn't and show him some gratitude and unconditional love
2) RELAX, and MYOB. Other people don’t want you nosing into and screwing around with their lives.
3) Get some hobbies and things of your own to be satisfied with and lastly
4) For Pete's sake (pun intended) 'Put Out'. Don't make up lame excuses and make him feel bad if you don't feel like it- just grin and do it. He is doing that in other, less obvious ways and it's a pretty fair trade off.

Alison's character was very easy to like. She's pretty, has nice mannerisms and is kind to everyone. She also has very human reactions to things and people, which made her relatable. I was confused though why with the job she had, she should be so dependent on her sister and brother-in-law. From the writer's standpoint, for the sake of keeping all the conflicts and issues at one location, I can see why she lived in the guesthouse. But from the reality standpoint- why didn't she have an apartment of her own? Again, kudos to Pete for taking financial responsibility for not only his own family but extended family as well.

I admit, I wasn't impressed with Ben (Seth Rogen). In fact, anything BUT. Aside from his having a good heart, he really didn't have much in his court. It strikes me as odd how a guy who does not take care of himself, has no income, a willful neglect of ambition, and spends all his time using drugs- could expect to be considered a contender for the heart, mind and body of a smart, fit, attractive and ambitious woman. (WTF???!!!)

The same applies to a woman hoping to snag a good man. I kept waiting for Will Smith to come in and do his Hitch magic to Ben, but alas they ended the movie with him just as 'cave man' as he started off. It was unbelievable.

I thought for sure at some point they would allow the realization that this couple was so diametrically opposed in…oh, I don’t know…EVERY possible way, that they were better off raising this child from two different households. Hollywood is just not able to deliver the slice of reality that by all rights should come with this piece of wanna-be American Apple Pie.

I guess between this and dumb shows like ‘King of Queens’, we’re going to keep promoting the idea that hot, clever women really want a fat, lazy, semi-retarded guy who doesn’t understand the concept of success or how to appreciate a quality woman. Guys… keep dreaming! Real women are NOT that desperate or stupid. Real women are better off alone, ABLE to do it and be happy alone.

While the situational humor and sometimes pithy interactions were funny, I don’t recommend this as a date movie. Someone is guaranteed to feel traumatized by the end.

[Modified from MySpace posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007]

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