Knocked Up delivers plenty of laughs, mixed perfectly with a keen look at modern relationships. Apatow doesn’t disappoint in this 40 Year Old Virgin follow up. Without giving anything away, I’ll give a quick review.
The film does an excellent job of building the relationship of Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) and Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) right from their uncomfortable meeting at the bar. But running alongside the story of their growing union/child is the rocky marriage of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), who are struggling with problems of their own. Apatow has proven his status now, dispelling the notion of a one-hit wonder and establishing himself as a filmmaker that can combine a fresh breed of comedy and heart-warming modern stories.
The movie is funny. I found myself laughing out loud many times and constantly throughout, which I guess is all you can ask for. It is packed with great lines and classic scenes that people will be quoting for years. The humor isn’t the typical set up and punch line gags, teen clichés, or Ben Stiller physical comedy that have clearly grown old. (There was even a preview for Stiller’s next comedy The Heartbreak Kid that left me thinking, “Really? Again?”)
Knocked Up, however, doesn’t remind you of 40 Year Old Virgin in a way that you realize “Oh, we’ve seen this before.” But it does include some gross out moments that the Farrelly brothers (There’s Something About Mary) have made so successful. Most of Apatow’s brand of hilarious bits comes from this creative troupe just riffing with each other in a scene. Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen create more funny back-and-forth moments, and manage to do so while coming to pivotal character realizations.
While Knocked Up isn’t as funny as Virgin, it still has plenty of funny moments, while building real characters the audience cares about. It’s not a perfect comedy, but will probably be the best of the year. So far it is 2007’s Best Reviewed Wide Release.
A few nitpicks though. The runtime is just over two hours at 129 minutes and I was unfortunately aware of that when I left. There were a few lulls here and there, along with an occasional missed joke when I swore I heard crickets in the theater. It just felt like a few small edits here and there would have tightened up the story. But still, I will take an occasional unfunny line over a movie with only one funny part. And unfortunately most comedies now have just that, resulting in the rare one or two stand-outs per year. “This year’s Wedding Crashers” isn’t bad at all.
If anything, this movie gives hope that a dopey-looking nerd can land an incredibly beautiful woman. And it teaches America that unprotected sex is OK!
I give Knocked Up four and a half drunken mistakes out of five. If only I had that few…