Warm, funny, smart. The best rom-com in a long, long time.
At some point over the last decade, comedy decided to get smart, creating that most hideous of compound nouns: the dramedy.
While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, it’s hugely refreshing to find that writer-director Judd Apatow is a gentleman of the old school. Knocked Up has its fair share of indie irony, but tonally it sits somewhere between John Hughes' '80s classics and the better moments of the Farrelly Brothers.
Ben (Seth Rogan) is a lazy stoner attempting to launch a porn site with his flatmates; Alison (Katherine Heigl) has just landed a presenting role for a high-profile TV channel. Their paths collide on a drunken night out, and an awkward morning after sees the couple part ways. But Mother Nature has other ideas. Alison soon discovers the bun in her oven, and the scene is set for an unusual will-they-won’t-they.
The film’s strength is a generous helping of charm. Ben may be a waster, but he’s a good person – a lovable grizzly bear with a great big heart. Alison, too, is easy to like – responding to her situation with a resolve that overcomes her understandable fears. Together they make a credible pairing, and this helps to smooth over a mildly improbable plot.
Knocked Up understands the necessary ingredients of a rom-com, but has the self-conviction to toy with the formula. The observations on male/female difference largely ring true, but these never come at the expense of a decent gag. There’s not a single bad performance – from Alison’s extended family to Ben’s pothead friends to a tender cameo from Harold Ramis, everybody hits exactly the right note. Most importantly it’s just very, very funny.
Looks a bit cheesy, but The 40-Year-Old Virgin was well received.
Warm, funny, smart. The best romcom in a long, long time.
Slightly too long, but so much fun that you really won’t mind.