Making the Grades
I suspect there are many guys who would love to see a movie in which a pot smoking, beer drinking, unemployed slacker hooks up with a gorgeous woman and not only experiences a drunken one night stand, but also manages to have her fall in love with him and bear his child. I also suspect Knocked Up will do well at the box office.
Meet Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) -- add a "d" to the end of his surname and you'll get a better idea of what his favorite pastime is. When he isn't sucking back on his bong, he's spending time with his buddies on their business plan: a website that catalogs nude scenes in movies (hardly an original idea -- as they will find out by the end of the movie). Considering he's a Canadian living illegally in the US, there's not much else he can do about his employment situation.
Meanwhile, not far away, beautiful Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) has just been handed an on-air job at E! Entertainment. Thrilled, she heads out to celebrate with her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) at a club. That is when her and Ben's worlds collide, and a few dances and drinks later, the two are back at her place engaged in drunken sex. Eight weeks later, the one nighter becomes a serious issue when Alison discovers she is pregnant.
At this point, the movie takes a surprising turn -- Alison puts her career on the line by deciding to have the baby. (Of course, it could easily be argued that an abortion would have resulted in a much shorter movie.) More interesting yet, she does her best to involve Ben and even learn to love him. During the months ahead these two wrestle to bring their very divergent lives and friends together. This results in scenes that are occasionally funny and even touching -- especially as Alison yearns for both a baby and a father to support it.
With an over two-hour running time the film is able to round out many of its characters, including using the marriage of Debbie and her husband Pete (Paul Rudd) to provide an interesting foil to the new couple's dilemma. Still, the huge reliance on what is barely more than high-school-mentality sexual humor flies in the face of the more serious moments happening on screen. Crass sexual jokes, nudity, and an overt casual attitude toward sexual relationships impregnate (pun intended) every aspect of this script, as does frequent recreational drug use.
Offering unusual messages about the importance of being a parent, the sanctity of life, and accepting responsibility, it's highly unfortunate that writer/director Judd Apatow (who also created last year's surprise hit, The 40 Year Old Virgin) couldn't deliver his baby with a little less bathwater.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Knocked Up.
While this is hardly a film children should see, it does raise questions about the nature of families and the roles mothers and fathers play in raising children. Alison’s decision to have a baby at the potential cost of her career is also a topic that may be addressed.