Monday, June 11, 2007

Not Knocked Out by "Knocked Up"

“Knocked Up” is loaded with characters I wouldn’t want to know in real life, if my friends became acquainted with these characters I would disown those friends, and if these characters moved in across the street I would move far, far away.

I really hated “Knocked Up” and the idea this movie is getting all kinds of critical acclaim is puzzling to me, to say the least.

I’m no fan of writer-director Judd Apatow. I found “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” equally painful to sit through, but “Knocked Up” is even worse. Both movies are way, way too long, and, to me, feel like first or second drafts rather than polished final drafts.

“Knocked Up” deals with the results of a drunken one night stand, when “E! Entertainment Television” rising star Allison (Katherine Heigl, very appealing) celebrates her promotion at the local watering hole where she meets big time slacker loser Ben (the insufferable Seth Rogan). Seven weeks later she learns she’s pregnant.

She decides to keep the baby and make Ben a part of her life through the pregnancy.

All well and good, but man, is this slackly written. In one scene, the two have an argument while driving and she throws him out of the car. The next time they meet at her niece’s birthday party, she tells him what a great guy he is.

What? We don’t see any scene showing this, or why she would have this change of heart. He’s still the big loser he was in the car. There are other scenes that left me bewildered, where characters are reacting in ways that don’t mesh with what occurred before.

Maybe it’s all explained in scenes that will up later in the DVD version. Not acceptable. I don’t pay money in the theater to see incomplete versions of a movie. Apatow needs to tighten up his writing, and please, learn to bring in a comedy in the 100-minute mark.

Ben does come through in the end, but it’s a long, protracted time before he does, and in the meantime we’re stuck with him and his ugly, annoying dopey stoner friends, who reside in a perpetual adolescence.

Allison has a sister (the shrill Leslie Mann, Apatow’s real life wife, and a call to arms against nepotism in the movies) married to a music promoter (Paul Rudd). They have two cute kids, but are always arguing. They represent a potential future for Allison and Ben. Is this what they can expect, a partnership full of scorn, insults and yelling?

Apatow includes not one but, if memory serves, two scenes of Allison and Ben talking about how they don’t want to wind up like her sister. We already figured this out, but Apatow doesn’t trust his audience to figure this out for ourselves. A long movie is made unnecessarily longer with these scenes.

Ben lives with a bunch of stoners who are suppose to be funny but aren’t. The f-bomb is dropped more frequently than in a Scorsese movie. It gets really old really fast.

Maybe I’m the wrong audience for this, I don’t know. Maybe it was the three horrendous trailers before the movie that put me in a bad mood. (A new Robin Williams movie, an Adam Sander comedy and the new Die Hard).

“Knocked Up” isn’t completely bad. There are some good laughs in it. I counted about four or five. That’s about one solid laugh every half hour. I think “Schindler’s List” had a higher laugh ratio.

Rating for “Knocked Up”: One star.

1 comment:

cmagiera said...

i saw knocked up on friday night. being "knocked up" myself, i thought i would be crying with laughter the whole time but merely found it amusing. while i could find it in my heart to grant more than one star, it is not the instant classic that all and sundry would have me believe. it's too long, i had to practice a LOT of suspension of disbelief (would a woman really bring her one night stand to her gyno's office for an exam??? i didn't even invite my husband to join me for this appointment!!) and the characters were not always likable.

i've always been a harsh critic of comedies but I know it's a deceptively difficult genre. I think that apatow is talented - anchorman and talladega nights were both really funny - but his pieces that are supposed to have more heart need a little editing.