Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000 to 2009.
People on the clock for serious life moves find very little humor in moments between propriety and uncertainty, expectations and emotions.
Judd Apatow specializes in offering characters that necessary comic catharsis — jokes that burrow into a subconscious level stronger than onscreen outrageousness. Again, he hit a nerve with this 2007 cavalcade of identifiable neuroses, fears and concerns that complement stoner jokes, pop-culture references and a verbal Olympics of profane insults.
Knocked Up also signified the welcome arrival of Seth Rogen as the Tom Hanks of shlubdom — playing Ben, an unemployed wannabe Web entrepreneur who has an unlikely one night stand with Alison (Katherine Heigl), a hot TV producer… and gets her pregnant.
Abortion arises, but never becomes a comedy-clouding issue. And as the duo makes a go of it, Rogen and Heigl convey the fragility of the life they’re making together. It’s in these moments that Apatow’s old-fashioned heart emerged, but he never deigned to suggest blanket answers for relationship problems.
All of this intermixes with a bevy of crudely riotous jabs (like the one at Meg Ryan’s personal grooming). Paul Rudd enters the Comic Wingman Hall of Fame as Alison’s brother-in-law Pete, and Leslie Mann (as Alison’s sister, Debbie) glistened, especially when lewdly, but respectfully, dismissed at the door of a club.
In its last trimester, Knocked Up eventually turned into what you expect when someone’s expecting onscreen — albeit with graphic glimpses at the … um … miracle of birth? Still, this was sincere as it slayed.