Starring: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffman
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Running Time: 84 mins
Obvious Child is an American film about a young woman working as a stand-up comedian whose life is turned around after she unexpectedly finds herself pregnant, and considers abortion, whilst also having to get her life in check.
This is neither a funny nor interesting indie dramedy. It may have some quirky heart, but it’s on the whole pretty dull to watch, thanks to average performances, poor writing and pacing and a very lukewarm take on the abortion issue.
Let’s start with the main point of this film, that it is, in part, about abortion. Of course, the majority is about a young woman having to take control of her life for the first time, but the abortion issue is still an important one. However, this film takes a surprisingly uninteresting tack on a pretty hot topic.
It’s not the job of every film to have to say something about a political issue, of course, but the way that this one treats abortion as just a thing, not of great importance or drama within the story, just isn’t at all interesting. By having a slightly more neutral take on the topic (although it is more pro-choice), this may be more accessible to all than more politically charged abortion films such as Citizen Ruth, but it’s still on the whole not an interesting theme to follow here.
Away from that, for an indie comedy-drama, this is also surprisingly unfunny. Even more strangely, this is a film that provides no laughs whatsoever when its main character is a stand-up comedian. The main problem is that the comedic tone is just so low amidst the drama of this woman’s life, but in those periods where the humour is meant to take control, such as during the stand-up sets, which go on for five minutes at a time, it’s still not funny.
The main point of this film is to be dramatic, however, and it does a little bit better of a job at that than being funny, but even so, the characters in this are very dull and not particularly likeable, meaning that the emotional turmoil in their lives, which are echoed in the woman’s stand-up sets and various other sequences throughout, is just not strong enough to really make you care at all.
Finally, the performances here aren’t particularly impressive either. Jenny Slate is fine in the central role, although her character isn’t that likeable, but the supporting players are just as dull as the rest of the film, seeming relatively downbeat in a film that occasionally plays on some romantic and happier notes despite its more serious main theme.
Overall, then, this gets a 5.4, because it’s not a funny enough comedy, and not an interesting enough drama, with boring characters and a bit of a nothing take on abortion.