Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segal, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow
Written by: Judd Apatow.
Running Time: 134 mins
Release date: 14th February 2013
Knocked Up was a reasonably amusing tale of unexpected pregnancy and a big success for writer director Judd Apatow. After building a reputation for frat boy, toilet humour comedies, Apatow has returned to his 2007 comedy and taken two minor characters from that and given their own film. Instead of a comedy classic, what we have here is more like a therapy session for a man struggling with his own life.
Debbie and Pete have been married for years, have two children and life seems fine for them. Secretly things are not rosy at all. Pete, who owns an independent record label, is struggling with money as no one wants to buy the music he likes, leading to financial difficulties he cannot speak about to his wife. Debbie, who runs a shop, is losing money to one of her shop assistant while having to cope with a father that doesn’t know her or her family and wanting to change her lifestyle for the better but is facing negative reactions from her children and her husband.
When I saw the advert in the States during the Summer, I genuinely thought “This looks promising” and I was excited to see it. I did enjoy the relationship of Debbie and Pete in Knocked Up. Maybe it would be fun to spend a little longer with these two people. When I said spend some time, I wasn’t expecting to spend over two hours with them. To be honest with you, I wanted them to leave my life after 15 minutes of it. Yes, the most annoying couple in cinema history are here.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amusing moments and yes, I did laugh. The problem lies in the haphazard way that Apatow has created this episodic, plotless slice of married life. It starts like a series of disjointed sketches that muddle into a messy drama with very few laughs by the last half hour. The pair bicker about sex, kids, parenting, food, age, in fact virtually everything which would be fine for short sharp 5 minutes sketches but it becomes agonising to sit through for the very long running length.
Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as Debbie and Pete and while Rudd is fine, Mann, given the part which requires the most acting, she can handle the comedy well but its hard to accept her in the more dramatic parts. It doesn’t ring true. The inclusion of Apatow and Mann’s children (they are married in real life) is a mixed bag. The oldest, Maude, is okay but young Iris struggles.
The cast includes Megan Fox as the eye candy, Jason Segal as a pervert health expert, Chris O’Dowd as Rudd’s business partner and Melissa McCarthy (who stole Bridesmaids from everyone) as a foul-mouthed mother of a child both Debbie and Pete both verbally attack (more uncomfortable than funny). Even the out-take at the end, in which McCarthy goes into a tirade of abuse comes across as just plain nasty.
After a while of arguments and examining body parts (yep, we get that too) you find yourself wondering off to other worlds in order to escape the dullness of the film. It is literally like Apatow has decided to show the world what marriage is like (or maybe in his house). There is a line in the film in which Debbie is asked by Pete to look up his back passage and she retorts “Can we have a strand of mystery left?” I was wondering that myself.