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Vol. LXI, No. 23
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

(Photo by Suzanne Hanover, © 2007 Universal Studio, all rights reserved.)

BEING A FATHER IS MORE DIFFICULT THAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE: Ben (Seth Rogen), reading a book about pregnancy, begins to realize that it's time for him to grow up and assume responsibity for his actions.

Knocked Up: One Night's Dalliance Leads to Pregnancy in Comedy

Kam Williams

Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) and Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) are polar opposites with nothing in common other than being twenty-somethings living in Los Angeles. She's an aspiring journalist who just landed her big break as an on-air reporter for the E! Television Network. He, on the other hand, is an unemployed underachiever who's sharing a bachelor pad with four equally immature couch potatoes, all intent on delaying the onset of adulthood.

Ben and his roommates typically hang out in their living room making grandiose plans, which never materialize, to launch a website called Flesh of the Stars. Alison, by contrast, is on the fast track to the top of her career ladder until the fateful moment when a curly headed stranger approaches her in a bar.

She usually doesn't frequent singles bars and is only there to celebrate her promotion with her big sister, Debbie (Leslie Mann), a jaded housewife stuck in a bad marriage. Ben invites himself to join the sisters and lowers Alison's resistance by plying her with beer. At the end of the evening, against her better judgment, she invites him back to her apartment where she ends up putting herself into an unprotected, compromising situation.

The next morning, as their hangovers wear off, they realize that their ill-advised union of the previous night had been the result of an alcohol fueled lapse of judgment. So they part company never expecting to see each other again.

Eight weeks later, however, Alison discovers that she's pregnant and tracks down Ben to let him know he's responsible for her situation. Not surprisingly, Ben takes the news of his patrimony badly.

This contentious predicament provides plenty of opportunities for further acrimony and also lays the ground for romance in Knocked Up, a coarse, yet charming battle-of-the-sexes comedy written and directed by Judd Apatow (The 40 Year-Old Virgin). In this movie, his second feature film, Apatow establishes himself as a master of the delicate art of offsetting lowbrow humor with tenderhearted moments to produce a picture with universal appeal.

Fans of bodily function humor will relish all the bawdy boys' behavior back in Ben's flat, as well as sight gags involving Alison's pregnancy. On the other hand, audience members inclined towards more sophisticated fare will enjoy the badinage between Alison and Ben as she desperately tries to make him over into marriage material before the arrival of their baby.

The film relies heavily on a subplot involving the strained marriage of the Debbie and her spouse, Pete (Paul Rudd). Debbie suspects him of cheating on her and enlists Alison's assistance in her efforts to catch him in the act. The females' spying hijinks are offset by Pete's male-bonding sessions with Ben, who's reluctant to take advice about marriage from a guy in the midst of a shaky relationship.

Knocked Up adds up to an hilarious family values movie which manages to convince you that it's possible to transform a misogynist into a doting father. Sometimes it's fun to pretend, and this is an excellent example of one of those occasions.

Excellent (4 stars). Rated R for premarital sexuality, coarse humor, nudity, drug and alcohol abuse, profanity, and mature themes. Running time: 129 minutes. Studio: Universal Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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