Seth Rogen (40-year Old Virgin) steps into a starring role as Ben Stone, a member of a “website development group” who spends most of his days getting high and talking smack. One evening the five buddies decide to take a break from their research to hit the local club scene. Enter Alison, portrayed by Katherine Heigl (Under Siege 2), who is celebrating her promotion to on-air personality for E!, the Entertainment Channel. After her sister Debbie, played by Leslie Mann (Big Daddy), has to abruptly leave, Alison hits it off with Ben and they hook up. Awaking to find exactly what she had a one-night stand with, she puts it behind her to focus on her long awaited career. Two months later that fateful night rears its ugly head as Alison learns she is pregnant. She calls Ben and the two decide to get to know one another and prepare for bringing this unexpected bundle of joy into the world.
It has been a long time coming but the first side-splittingly hilarious film of 2007 has arrived. Rogen who has proven himself a capable comic force in several supporting roles comes through as the lovable loser Ben. He gets help with the laughs from a host of his supporting friends, including especially funny performances by Jonah Hill (*Accepted) and the outrageous Paul Rudd (*Anchorman). Director Judd Apatow (Talladega Nights) even pulls Harold Ramis (*Ghostbusters) out of obscurity for a small role as Ben’s father. Though Katherine Heigl plays the straight man, she plays well off the humor of costars such as Mann, SNL Not Ready for Primetime Players Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, and Growing Pains mom, Joanna Kearns. With all that funny you’d be surprised to learn there are a couple of cameos that will surprise and amuse not to mention some up-and-coming comedic talent that audiences will be seeing more of thanks to this charming film.
The film isn’t all quippy one-liners, slapstick, and pregnancy shtick. “Knocked Up” incorporates a two-fold story concerning the budding relationship between Alison and Ben and the strained relationship between Debbie and Rudd’s character, Pete. It uses many of the comical situations as a tool to compare the life of couples from their beginnings versus ten years down the road. The contrast does weigh the film down, creating a bit of drag in an otherwise runaway train of amusement. But considering the story lag makes up only about ten minutes of the film’s total runtime, it might be nitpicky to criticize. Whether or not the family commentary appeals to you really doesn’t matter as it’s the relatable hilarity in the comparison that will draw you into the story.
If Rogen and his buddies were action figures they would each come with their own personalized piece of drug paraphernalia, have interchangeable white-boy dance/jerk off/toking/boozing action, and spout any of a dozen unmentionably vulgar phrases at the push of a button. Aside from Katherine Heigl’s breasts, “Knocked Up” leaves very little to the imagination. There is lots of female nudity from various film clips and there’s even a double porn-star sighting of Stormy Daniels and Nautica Thorn. To be fair, “Knocked Up” throws in some rather unattractive maleness to balance the scales.
Blowin' the Load (Spolier)
I attended this sneak peek with my buddy Shane who brought up a good point: how believable is it that in the throes of drunken passion Katherine Heigl would leave her bra on? I say, more importantly, what man when lucky enough to bed a woman as hot as Heigl would allow her to keep her chesticles hidden? Let’s face it; he didn’t approach her from across the room because she had a great smile. In fact, the only reason a guy would know what color her eyes are is because he was mentally forcing himself not to stare at her lust puppies. That being said, we all know Heigl probably was uncomfortable being nude on camera, thus depriving audiences of a realistic sexual escapade. While Heigl did a great job lugging around the bad-looking fake tummy, maybe next time the director should consider an actress willing to take it to the next level. Watching Rogen get knocked unconscious by Shannon Elizabeth’s magumbos as they are released from their lacey bonds or having him ridden harder than Flicka by a full-frontal Maria Bello sure would seem more realistic than a woman who’s willing to bring a total loser home and into her special place but not open the windows. But I digress.
In case you weren’t paying attention for the last few paragraphs, “Knocked Up” is friggin’ hilarious. It consists of adult situations that provide grown-up entertainment. This, as always is the case during the summer season, is sorely lacking. So dump your kids with Granny with a copy of “Shrek the Third” and remember what you enjoyed laughing at before you got knocked up.