BY PATRICIA DRAZNIN
She’s Knocked Up: one-night-standers Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen face the facts. © 2007 Universal Studios.
Comedy is a hard target. But with Knocked Up, writer/director Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Talladega Nights) shows us how to hit the mark with a snappy script that is breaking the box office. But . . . be prepared to drown in crude language. And brace yourself for the “Yeah, right” kind of premise that loses credibility in Knocked Up‘s Act I when the lovely leading lady makes some dubious life decisions as casually as some of us would choose a flavor of Haagen-Dazs.
Seth Rogen (The 40 Year Old Virgin) plays the overweight unemployed Ben Stone, the most unlikely candidate to score babe material the likes of Alison Scott (Grey’s Anatomy’s Katherine Heigl). But score he does. And as Knocked Up implies, never underestimate the fertile possibilities when two young consenting adults engage in casual drunken sex.
Apatow has a field day with a gaggle of wild characters. Ben lives with his geeky buddies who are developing a skin-themed movie website and who get along like . . . like post-adolescent men. Alison’s cute older sister Debbie, played by Leslie Mann (Mrs. Judd Apatow), has a challenging personality that sometimes rhymes with witch, and whose even-tempered hubby (Paul Rudd) takes the heat in a marriage not made in heaven. Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) and Alan Tudyk (Serenity), as Alison’s superiors at the E-TV Network, stage several Hollywood high moments. And then there are Ben and Alison, the mismatched couple with nothing in common but a fetus.
Knocked Up was the seed idea of Seth Rogen. And while its raw language attempts to entertain the 17-to-20-somethings, it also packs some grown-up food for thought about relationships, honesty, and acceptance. And it also provides an interesting lesson in comedy screenwriting. It proves that if you know how to, uh . . . knock up your dialogue, you can start with a lame story, do some kick-butt casting and directing, and make it fly.