Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Get Knocked Up

I'll get straight to the point:

THIS WILL BE THE BEST COMEDY YOU SEE ALL YEAR.

That's all you really need to take away from this post, but if you care to hear my ramblings, I'm working on a full review, complete with some tracks off the movie's great soundtrack (mostly songs by the wonderful Loudon Wainwright III), so check back here tomorrow on I have no idea when (sorry, been insanely busy lately) NOW, full-review updated below!

In the meantime, check out the videos below and get excited...
VIDEO: Official Trailer
VIDEO: R-Rated Trailer
VIDEO: International Trailer
VIDEO: Behind The Scenes
VIDEO: Katherine Heigl Interviews

FINAL GRADE: A+

*UPDATED: If you'd like to read the rest of my review/love letter to Judd Apatow, or if you care to hear some tracks off the wonderful soundtrack, click below on the "Continue Reading" link and please do read on.

--------------

Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Ghandi. It's important to have role models. For me, it just happens to be a man that showed us a 40 year old virgin urinating on himself due to a morning erection.

This great man is Judd Apatow.

While he did bring us a scene involving the phrase, "shit-stained balls," Apatow's also created some memorable heart-warming, and heart-wrenching, moments throughout his career, most notably in Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, and The 40 Year Old Virgin. This combination of subtle sentiment and uninhibited humor is what I love most about Apatow's work, and in Knocked Up, he does this to perfection.

I'll assume that you can gather the movie's premise from the title, but just in case my mom's reading this, here it is in a nutshell: Ben Stone (Seth Rogan) gets Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl)... um... knocked up. Very simple plot. But it is refreshing to see a movie that can be so entertaining without the unnecessary gimmicks that plague many other comedies today. And much of Knocked Up's entertainment can be attributed to Apatow's ability to create realistic, likable characters.

I felt like I went to high school with everyone in Freaks and Geeks, my college experience definitely reflected scenes from Undeclared, and I've had many drunken nights similar to this scene in 40YOV. And again, here in Knocked Up, the characters seem like friends I've known for years.

The chemistry between the cast is perfect. A lot of the actors involved are friends in real-life, having worked on past Apatow projects together, and this camaraderie definitely translates onto the screen. Much like the "You Know How I Know You're Gay" bit in Virgin, there's a hilarious running gag here where the guys continually come up with ways to insult Martin Starr's character's beard. You genuinely get the feeling that the actors really do sit around in real-life one-upping each other's insults.

Adding to the movie's familiarity for me is the fact that the main character's name is Ben Stone, which is also my roommate's name. And the fact that it's set in Brentwood, where I currently reside. And the fact that there's a scene in Del's Saloon, a bar down the street from my apartment. And the fact that I too knocked up an E! reporter- sorry, getting carried away here.

As I was saying, the cast is perfect. It's great to finally see Seth Rogan in a leading role. Katherine Heigl is the love of my life (thank God, Anne Hathaway dropped out of this part). Paul Rudd, who plays Pete, Allison's unhappy brother-in-law, is one of the best comedic actors alive in my opinion. And Judd Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann, who was so funny in this brief 40 Year Virgin scene, gets much, much more well-deserved screentime here as Debbie, Allison's sister and Pete's wife. Apatow also cast his own kids in this movie, and they are ridiculously adorable. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty much an all-star comedic team, comprised of Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Martin Starr, Jonah Hill, who was my personal favorite, and Kristen Wiig, who was surprisingly great as Allison's passive-aggressive co-worker.

Oh, and it was great to see an Asian comedic actor on screen; Ken Jeong was hilarious as the insensitive gyno.

Apatow's directorial style is known for tailoring the script to the cast and letting them improvise quite a bit, trying out the same scene a couple different ways. He said in an interview that for 40 Year Old Virgin, he ran through a million feet of film by the last day of shooting, but reached a million feet an entire week prior to the last day on Knocked Up. Which basically means I cannot wait to purchase the DVD and watch all the bonus material.

Music-wise, I definitely heard the following two songs in the movie, both used very well:

"We Are Nowhere And It's Now" - Bright Eyes (feat. Emmylou Harris) [buy album]
"Daughter" - Loudon Wainwright III (Peter Blegvad cover) [buy album]

*UPDATED: Thanks to my writing partner for pointing out the following songs as well:
"Shimmy Shimmy Ya" - Ol' Dirty Bastard [buy album]
"Rock Lobster" - The B-52's [buy album]
"Police On My Back" - The Clash [buy album]
"Girl" - Beck [buy album]
"Toxic" - Britney Spears [buy album]

According to, and only according to, the Concord Records' MySpace blog (reeeeally hope they spread the word more in coming months), these are some of the other tracks from the upcoming soundtrack, "Strange Weirdos: Music From And Inspired By Knocked Up":

"Grey in L.A." - Loudon Wainwright III
"Strange Weirdos" - Loudon Wainwright III
"Valley Morning" - Loudon Wainwright III
"Doin' the Math" - Loudon Wainwright III
"I Feel So Good" - Loudon Wainwright III (Mose Allison cover)

Did I mention Loudon Wainwright was on the soundtrack?

I will say that my one gripe with the movie is that there's only one scene with Loudon, who was absolutely perfect as the father on Undeclared.

Naturally, just like I've done throughout this post, a lot of people are going to walk out of the theater and compare this movie to 40 Year Old Virgin. While I absolutely loved Virgin, I think Knocked Up is a bit superior, doing everything Virgin did, but a little bit better. I also thought there was some lag at the end of the second act in 40YOV, whereas Knocked Up entertained me non-stop for the entire two-hour length of the movie.

I've read a review or two complaining that two hours is just too long for a comedy. In my opinion, two hours is just too long for a comedy that sucks. If a movie's hilarious, I say, keep going, don't stop, I enjoy more laughter. And as Seth Rogan once said, "No one’s ever mad that they got more free shit."

I've also read criticisms from a few people who can't get over the fact that someone as beautiful and together as Allison could ever end up falling for such a slacker like Ben. These people can kiss my balls. Yeah, what up, debate team, four years.

No, seriously though, I can kind of see where that criticism is coming from, but both Heigl and Rogan pull off their characters in such way that any disbelief can easily be suspended. Also, I've never been on debate team.

Overall though, the movie's been getting rave reviews, and I expect more will come pouring in as the release date approaches. Judd Apatow announced last week that he has won a $20 bet that he could turn Seth Rogan into a movie star, a bet made 7 years ago on the set of Freaks and Geeks. I'm sure by the summer's end, Apatow will be making many, many more twenty dollar bills off of Rogan's performance.

Unfortunately, the film won't be released until June 1st, so start scouring your city for screenings, or just live vicariously through me and re-read this blog post every day in the meantime. Thanks for making it through this long-winded review, and I hope you're all excited to see this movie.

I am now going to run to Costco to purchase an economy-size box of condoms that will, at my current rate, last me twenty-five years. If I double-bag it every time.

Leave a comment!

27 Comments:

Blogger Claire said...

I'm SO excited for this movie; I can't wait to read your review!

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

saw it last night too and read that pop candy saw it yesterday, wouldn't it be cool if we were all at the same screening!? or weird?

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been psyched for this movie since I saw the trailer a month a couple months ago. Can't wait to see it!

12:58 PM  
Blogger NYOne said...

I have my reservations about Katherine Heigl, but I will still def be seeing this movie.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

so this is off topic,

but I have a request!


I have to make a mix of party/drunken/hangover songs and I am stumped. I would like to see some of your favorites!

1:44 PM  
Anonymous megan said...

This sounds fantastic; I cant wait to check it out! Thanks for the review. And I agree Paul Rudd is a comedic genius. He was even great in that movie where he mails a 'used' condom to his cheating girlfriend and then has to go on this crazy journy to stop it from getting to her... what the heck was the name of that? Anyone?

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A.) The movie looks hilarious -- can't wait to check it out! Thanks for the mega-review, and for spreading the good word about "Freaks and Geeks"/"Undeclared"!!

B.) On a totally unrelated note, have you been keeping up with the Pussycat Dolls on the CW?? Oh my gosh, I am SOOOO Team Anastacia!! Asia needs to have somebody break her legs and put her out of her misery.

Thanks, Cap't! ;)

7:17 PM  
Blogger NewsGuyNY said...

great review! Can't wait to see it. Also can't wait for your take on last week's Friday Night Lights -- when they make their own field. I was up on my couch jumping up and down -- AMAZING!

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I by no means look like Katherine Heigl but I like to think I'm not totally fugly and I heart Seth Rogen as I said on your writing partner's site. I take issue with hot girls falling for say Jim Belushi or Doug on King of Queens and whatever the hell that other sitcom is that never seems to get cancelled. But not Seth Rogen, he is cute! And funny (which is more important).

Definitely looking forward to this movie.
And my Paul Rudd appreciation continues to grow. Way back when I first saw Paul Rudd in Clueless, I thought he was not too shabby. But every thing I see him in since then is better. I finally saw Wet Hot American Summer and he was absolutely hilarious.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Walsh said...

Sonny,

Five more songs from the movie I noticed just because I love each of them:

"Shimmy Shimmy Ya" by Old Dirty Bastard over the opening credits

"Rock Lobster" by B-52's over the boot-knocking scene

"Police On My Back" by The Clash over the pregnancy test buying scene

"Girl" by Beck in the background at the record shop

and

"Toxic" by Britney Spears on the car radio on the way to Vegas

Awesome movie.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

Hi Claire,
Thanks for commenting first! Hope you enjoyed the review!

Hi Anon 6:36,
Did you watch it at the AMC 7 in Santa Monica last Thursday?

Hi Anon 12:58,
Glad you're psyched! The R-Rated trailer is so much funnier, right?

Hey NYOne,
I think you'll be a Heigl fan after this... =)

Hey Jen,
I'm currently working on a "Make Out" mix for the blog, which I guess would go hand-in-hand most nights with a "Drunk" mix, so I'll see what I can do. Are you just looking for songs to partay to?

Hi Megan,
You're thinking of the movie "Overnight Delivery", also starring Reese Witherspoon and Christine Taylor. I hear Kevin Smith rewrote the script for this. I haven't seen it yet, but just added it to my Netflix queue. I believe from the synopsis, one can make an argument that "Road Trip" ripped this movie off?

Hey Anon 7:17,
A.) Glad you enjoyed the review! And thanks for emailing me about the "condom" typo!

B.) I missed the last Pussycat Dolls!! Daaaah!! Just tell me Chelsea didn't get kicked off... I'm way too into this show for my own good.

Hey NewsGuyNY,
What up Kevin! Glad you liked the review. Definitely want to hear your thoughts when you watch it.

And I LOVED last week's FNL. Absolutely perfect. The show is kicking ass and taking names. Did you watch tonight's? The ending was great. I love how real everything feels..

Hi Anon 9:24,
Well, just like my writing parten replied, more girls should have your taste in men! Hi, my name's Sonny Lee, I'm very single.

I'm ashamed to say that I have yet to watch "Wet Hot American Summer". [hangs head in shame] You know, I think I may just fix that this weekend..

11:56 PM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

Patrick,
Thanks for pointing those out. I seem to only be able to remember the sad songs. It was nice sharing Skittles with you at the screening, I was hoping it would blossom into something more...

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Christin said...

Friday Night Lights won the prestigious Peabody Award! They totally deserve it!

9:03 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

[quote]Hey Jen,
I'm currently working on a "Make Out" mix for the blog, which I guess would go hand-in-hand most nights with a "Drunk" mix, so I'll see what I can do. Are you just looking for songs to partay to?[/quote]


I'm actually looking for songs about drinking lyrically.

I am trying to create a mix for a friend that would kinda be reminiscent of a night out from the start.. to the drinking.. to the hangover. I suppose the making out mix could work if any of that could be chalked up to "inappropriate drunken behavior." ha.

examp:
Sober- Muse
In the morning -Razorlight
and practically anything by The Hold Steady, i.e Massive Nights.


oh and to go back on subject, (as if I was ever there) I think this movie will mark my year long absence from the inside of any movie theater.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as party/drinking songs go, it doesn't get any better than the Dropkick Murphys doing "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced."

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Alistair said...

Yay you got me excited for it! Will see!

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should also check out "wasted" by Paranoid Social Club

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw, Captain, don't worry, you are much more attractive than Philip Seymour Hoffman.
~Leah

1:41 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

thanks anon ;)

1:22 AM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

Hey Jen,
I would also recommend the song "Miles iz Dead" by Afghan Whigs... a bit dark.. but it has the repeating chorus of "Don't forget the alcohol."

It might take me a while to get to this drunk playlist, but it is on my list of things to do!

Hi Anon 7:02,
Great suggestion!

Hi Alistair,
Awesome!

Hi Anon 3:19,
Don't have that track actually, cool suggestion!

Hi Leah,
Thank you. =)

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats that song at the end of the trailer it goes like this "Well its all right"

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're forgetting "tropicana" by ratatat. i think that's the song name. they played it every time they showed the ultrasound picture of the fetus.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous carly said...

there is one song that comes on around the middle, and i can't even remember what's going on during the song, but it's really upbeat and has a great rythym...it sounds like it COULD be an oldie or maybe something from a newer indie group that has that vintage sound...any idea what i'm talking ab at all??

11:40 AM  
Blogger Captain Oats said...

Hi Anon 11:16,
You're thinking of "End of the Line" by Traveling Wilburys... one of the greatest group of musicians ever assembled.

Hey Anon 1:55,
Thanks! Did not know that one.

Hi Carly,
Do you remember which scene it plays in? I think you might be thinking of either "Love Plus One" by Haircut 100 or "The Biggest Part of Me" by Ambrosia.

1:39 PM  
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