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Knocked Up

Knocked Up

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes (28); Extended scenes; Line-o-ramas; gag reels (x3); Kids on the Loose featurette; Directors’ video diaries; Featurettes + more.

JUDD Apatow is Hollywood’s new king of comedy. If breakthrough hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin flirted with moments of pure comedy gold that mixed dirty silliness with heartfelt emotion, then Knocked Up seduces us wholesale with its spunky jokes and heart-warming sentiment.

Katherine (Grey’s Anatomy) Heigl stars as successful TV floor manager Alison Scott, who celebrates a surprise promotion by going out and getting drunk with her uptight sister Debbie (Leslie Mann).

While there, she hooks up with amiable slacker Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) and ends up taking him home for a night of casual sex. But when she winds up pregnant as a result, Alison faces some big decisions including, most notably, whether to give Ben his unlikely shot at fatherhood and responsibility.

From the start, Apatow deftly combines laugh-out loud comedy with strong characterisation, turning the film into one of the most entertaining rides of the year in spite of its predictability.

Seth Rogen – who shone as Steve Carell’s deep-voiced stockroom buddy in Virgin – is brilliant as the similarly burly slacker Ben, expertly mixing lusty bravado with a quieter, more vulnerable side whenever the situation dictates. And Heigl juggles feistiness with fear as she attempts to cope with the dual responsibility of impending motherhood and career.

Both are well supported by Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd as the not so happily married couple who provide an interesting contrast to the growing pains of Alison and Ben, and Jonah Hill and Jason Segel as Ben’s irresponsible best friends.

But everyone seems to be thriving on the opportunities afforded by Apatow’s sparkling screenplay, which effortlessly manages to be rude and outrageous as well as sincere.

By grounding the jokes in reality, the film never feels crass or puerile, rather mining its laughs from an uncomfortable sense of the familiar. Sex scenes are awkward but hilarious, medical examinations are squirm inducing but amusing and conversations are frank but funny.

Apatow also relies on a seamless mix of pop culture references, in-joke movie referencing and razor-sharp relationship banter to keep things rolling along, making it easy for viewers to relate with its characters and laugh along at their misfortune. And when the time comes for the inevitably gooey birth scenes he doesn’t wimp out, even tossing in an utterly gross-out ‘crowning’ gag to offset the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.

It’s this maverick attitude as much as anything that makes Knocked Up such an immaculate conception.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 2hrs 9mins
DVD Release Date: December 26, 2007