The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Lisa Frankenstein was released to theaters Feb. 9th and was released to digital platforms Feb. 27.
"Lisa Frankenstein" Review
February 29, 2024
The program for SMU Lyric Theatres performance of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Dallas Texas, Sunday February 18, 2024
Love, loss and laughter
February 27, 2024

‘Knocked Up’ delivers

The time has finally arrived, friends. That time to see matinee movies without skipping class (unless you’re in summer school, in which case: Sorry. Bummer, dudes). I welcome the magical, offensively hot, sunny afternoons when theaters are filled with Hollywood’s supposed “cream o’ the crop” blockbusters.

Well, if you made it through the web of empty promises in “Spider-Man 3,” and were brave enough to venture the convoluted seas of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” you can now safely venture back to theaters and remember what it is to laugh during a movie (at least during a film that expects it). Writer-director Judd Apatow’s (“40 Year Old Virgin”) new film “Knocked Up” is just what the doctor ordered for those humbug Hollywood blues.

Starring Seth Rogen as lovable loser Ben Stone and Katherine Heigl as successful television journalist Alison Scott, “Knocked Up” at first seems a bit mismatched. Of course the idea is obvious that this is supposed to be a kooky “Odd Couple,” opposites attract sort of situation. It’s just that despite how likeable Seth Rogen has been in previous work (a wise cracking friend in Apatow’s “40 Year Old Virgin”) it seems like they’ve thrown him quite the bone by allowing him to be the focal point in this comedy. But put these preconceptions behind you; Rogen is fantastic.

In his first major starring role, Rogen hits this one out of the park like a seasoned pro. Whether he’s partying with his stoner friends, doing mushrooms during Cirque du Soleil with his new brother-in-law (the deadpan and hilarious Paul Rudd), trying desperately to win Heigl’s heart or struggling with the reality of fatherhood, Rogen isn’t just spot-on, he’s surprisingly sincere. Which is definitely a weird thing to be said for a movie like this, but it’s also a huge part of why “Knocked Up” works so well.

But Rogen doesn’t have to carry this one entirely on his own. Characters aren’t just bust-a-gut hilarious; they’re relatable and real. If cast members aren’t offering up priceless one-liners, they’re playing the part of the everyday person, and just doing their best to help their friends Ben and Alison. Normally this is where it could get specific and there would be a list of a few highlights in the film with supporting characters, where I might tell you about something like the excessive ribbing of a friend for being hairy just because he made a bet that he wouldn’t shave all year. But, because the film is filled to the brim with such moments of greatness, and due to there not being an unlikeable person in the movie, it would take forever to list off specifics like character names, etc., but just know this is the best ensemble cast in a comedy in the past few years.

Explaining the plot too much is useless. If you’ve seen the preview, or even read the title of the film, you probably get the idea. Boy meets girl, boy and girl hook up, eight weeks later and “Uh-oh! She’s Pregnant!” But Apatow takes the romantic comedy formula and does what few other writer-directors have the know-how or bravery to do. Not only does he harness Rogen and crew’s acting chops and impeccable funny bones and make their situations totally believable (troubles Rogen and Heigl experience are just as awkward and confusing as if they were happening to you), but he also takes the smallest things and makes them endearing.

Sure, Apatow has mastered making everyone laugh (see “Heavy Weights”), and, yes, he can pull great performances from his actors, but this attention to detail and his ability to make the audience care is really what sets him and “Knocked Up” apart.

I’d be remiss to not mention his love for the underdog. In reality, it’s a rare case to find someone like Heigl hooking up with (even drunkenly), let alone dating, a pothead slacker with a lack of social skills. But Apatow and “Knocked Up” are the champions of this tendency to play big brother to life’s nerds and losers.

So in the end, the unlikely front-man really does win it all: He’s got the starring role, a chance at a smokin’ hot girl and the audience’s hearts. If romantic comedy with adult themes has a “Pretty Woman,” but with a hell of lot more integrity and no Richard Gere, this is it.

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