Film

Condoms Are Awesome

And Yet? Knocked Up is Funny!

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Props to Ben. He spends his days smoking weed, sleeping, and scanning movies for nude scenes with his buddies. (They're trying to build a website that catalogs actresses' nudity, so that people can skip the boring talking and fast forward straight to Meg Ryan's bush. It's the closest thing to a job he's ever had.) Somehow, Ben (Seth Rogen) ends up at a club, and then ends up hitting it off with superfoxy E! reporter Allison (Katherine Heigl). (Props, Ben. Props.) A few ill- (or well-)advised drinks later, the two are fucking back at Allison's, where drunken confusion eliminates a condom from the equation. Immediately following an excruciatingly awkward breakfast, the two part ways, never to see each other again—until two months later, when Allison finds out she's pregnant.

If Knocked Up were a typical Hollywood film, it'd go one of two ways: broad slapstick or half-assed drama. But Knocked Up is the latest from Judd Apatow, the genius behind The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and Freaks and Geeks, which means that Knocked Up is something altogether different and altogether awesome. Not only is it likely to be the funniest film of 2007 (yep, it's that hilarious), but it's also Apatow's best project yet, which is saying quite a bit.

Like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up's raucous, nonstop comedy leads the way to a surprisingly good-hearted, affecting story. As man-child Ben gets over his bewildered initial reaction to Allison's pregnancy ("How the fuck did this happen?"), he finds himself struggling to set down his bong and pick up What to Expect When You're Expecting. As Allison and Ben valiantly but foolishly try to turn a one-night stand into a real relationship, the only role models they have are Allison's sister, Debbie (Leslie Mann) and her husband, Pete (Paul Rudd)—who have a house, two adorable kids, and one of the most dysfunctional, passive aggressive, and realistic marriages ever put on film. ("Marriage is like an unfunny version of Everybody Loves Raymond," Pete warns Ben. "But it doesn't last 22 minutes. It lasts forever.")

Which, I know, all sounds like it could veer terrifyingly close to the territory of half-assed drama—but writer/director Apatow and his excellent cast are intent on making this shit funny, and goddamn, do they ever. I was laughing so hard throughout Knocked Up that I walked out of the theater feeling kind of exhausted—delighted and wanting to see the film again immediately, yes, but also kind of like I'd been kicked in the ribs. Much of this is thanks to the 25-year-old Rogen, the funniest actor to come along in pretty much forever. The rest of the cast is fantastic too, but this is ultimately Rogen's film—as Debbie and Pete's marriage teeters, and Allison desperately tries to come to terms with an unexpected pregnancy and an unexpected dipshit boyfriend, Knocked Up's plot and charm hinges on the instantly likeable Ben, whose easygoing but awkward demeanor and sharp humor ensure that Knocked Up delivers solid emotional currents between laughs. So maybe props are due elsewhere, too: to Rogen, to Apatow, to the resurgence (started by Virgin, and continued here) of sharp, smart, excellently made comedies targeted at grownups, not the PG-13 crowd. Which is all just kind of long form for this: Knocked Up is hilarious and great. Go see it.

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