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KNOCKED UP

SYNOPSIS:
Unemployed bum Ben Stone (Seth Rogan) shares a shambolic house with some friends, smoking dope and wasting time, cracking rude jokes. On a night out, Ben gets lucky when he bumps into Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) who is getting very drunk celebrating her promotion to an on-camera presenting gig at E!. Their intoxicated, impromptu and unlikely one night stand results in Alison getting knocked up, which throws a spanner in their respective lives. The mismatched duo try to work things out with the of best intentions, amidst not always helpful help from their family - Alison's stressful older sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) and her quietly desperate husband Pete (Paul Rudd) - and Ben's lazy yet well meaning and loopy friends (Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel and Martin Starr). As the time for the baby gets closer, tensions lead to quarrels, a trip to Las Vegas and confrontations between Ben and Alison. It just can't last ...

Review by Louise Keller:
Canvassing all the elements of relationships, Knocked Up is funny, crass, real and moving. If you'll pardon the pun, it's a knock out. This is writer director Judd Apatow's funniest and wittiest work to date (he wrote Fun with Dick & Jane and The 40 Year Old Virgin), as he explores dating, careers, domestic life and pregnancy, when the father is nothing but a blur from an inebriated one-night stand. Targeted for the cool-set and for those who wish they were cool, the film is well observed and treats us to a menu of different emotions. From the ridiculous to the profound, there are many truths in this smart comedy that takes flight from its talented cast.

When Seth Rogen's unemployed deadbeat Ben Stone happens to be standing at the bar next to the busty, gorgeous Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl), who is excited from her new promotion to onscreen television presenter, little does he know that his life will never be the same again. Neither have any inhibitions when it comes to drinking or sex, although neither remembers much about it. As the perfect odd couple, Rogen and Heigl have plenty of appeal as their characters bond under the covers and then pay the price for the rest of the film. He is a scruffy good for nothing who sits around all day with his stoned friends; she is a beautiful talented girl who enjoys a good time.

The joys of the film evolve from the character development of both Ben and Alison as they begin a relationship with nothing in common except the (positive) results of a home pregnancy test. We are there for their ups and many downs. Apatow's wife Leslie Mann plays Debbie, Alison's neurotic sister whose marriage to Paul Rudd's Pete is fraught with problems and differences, and there are lovely naturalistic performances from their two young onscreen daughters. All kinds of things are explored - from individuality in a marriage to the difference between men and women. There's a boys' trip to Vegas, girl-talk lamenting the onset of ageing and even a symbolic earthquake.

Apatow treads the fine line between hilarity and sincerity as the emotional stakes grow in the lead up to the birth of Alison and Ben's baby. The critical moments are replete with richness and the wonder of new life is delivered as a monumental achievement. This is a joyous film about friendship, love, men, women and vive la difference!

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A remarkably observant, honest and pain-filled script elevates Knocked Up from being just another gross out comedy to what will surely be high grossing entertainment, popular as well as cutting. Cutting because Judd Apatow's dialogue is so often devastatingly real as to draw blood; but that's also what makes it so funny. That, plus Seth Rogan's ugly duckling Ben, flabby and insecure, vulgar yet suddenly sweet as a puppy; these elements take the film into a broader market than its surface credentials would suggest. Meaning that not only pimply teenagers will relate to it, so will the entire age range and both sexes. At one stage I found myself thinking this was anything BUT a chick flick, with the chicks getting short shrift in some hard hitting dialogue.

But we don't have too long to sink into analysis or serious contemplation of the miseries of daily life in a relationship, even though they are all captured with dark glee. Those moments ground the film in a painful reality which Apatow's previous comedy, The 40 Year Old Virgin only flirted with. Here, his comedic knack of hitting bullseyes with character and dialogue pay off handsomely. And he keeps the pace going, the tone even.

For all its foul language and gross humour, Knocked Up ends up playing like a sweet film - if coated in bitter almonds. Performances are naturalistic enough to make the film acceptable as a documentary at the Families in Crisis Film Festival, and Apatow directs with an economical iron fist - aided no doubt by a disciplined edit.

There are a few flaws, including scenes at restaurants that are played as if other patrons were all deaf, and some scenes left in from for their sketch comedy value. But in the overall, the film exceeds expectations, 2-hour running time notwithstanding.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

INTERVIEW & PODCAST (Judd Apatow & Seth Rogan)

KNOCKED UP (MA)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Katherine Heigl, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Martin Starr

PRODUCER: Judd Apatow, Shauna Robertson, Clayton Townsend

DIRECTOR: Judd Apatow

SCRIPT: Judd Apatow

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eric Alan Edwards

EDITOR: Craig Alpert, Brent White

MUSIC: Loudon Wainwright III, Joe Henry

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jefferson Sage

RUNNING TIME: 129 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 5, 2007







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