Starring: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Leslie Mann
Director: Judd Apatow
Running Time: 129 mins
Knocked Up is an American film about an up-and-coming TV presenter and a layabout stoner who get involved in a one night stand, that leaves them with an unplanned pregnancy that completely changes their lives.
With the majority of the typical Apatow crew on board, Knocked Up seems like the pinnacle of the director’s famous formula. And as entertaining and often hilarious as that is, with some great performances and gags throughout, the film also falls down when it comes to its excessive length, focus on secondary characters and occasional lapses in a good sense of humour.
But I’ll get onto that in a bit, because the main thing to know about this film is that it is good fun. It’s not a full-on romantic comedy, nor is it an entirely moronic and senseless slapstick movie. Blending the two genres well throughout, as well as featuring an interesting and entertaining main plot, there is a lot of fun to be had with this film.
Above all, Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl’s story is what works best about this movie. Both of their performances are entertaining as well as having a good degree of dramatic intrigue, and they have some good on-screen chemistry throughout. Heigl can often be a little overly screechy, although it fits her character’s high-strung nature, whilst that clash with the fun-loving and laid-back Seth Rogen makes for some great laughs throughout the movie.
Effectively, it’s pretty easy to care about the fate of these two main characters, and all the while you’re able to have a good laugh. Apatow does a good job at directing the main focus of the film, mixing comedy, drama and romance as well as he always does, making for an entertaining, but never schmaltzy or cheesy watch.
The same can’t quite be said for the secondary stories in the film. I was pretty engaged in Heigl and Rogen’s story, but it’s clear that that couldn’t quite fill up the whole runtime. So, as well as them, there are a couple of other side plots that the film delves into from time to time, but a little too much for me.
On the one hand, you have Seth Rogen’s fellow stoner friends who sit around pretending to set up an internet business. As ridiculous as some of things they do are, I have to say that the majority of them are pretty unlikable, and although that does help Rogen’s character’s development throughout the story away from childlike layabout to a responsible adult, there’s just too much focus on occasion on these irritating and comical buddies of his, and it’s not really funny enough to be justified.
What’s more is that the film spends even more time on Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd’s married relationship. Again, this does play a role in developing Heigl and Rogen’s relationship through the movie, but there are a good few sections of the movie that are almost exclusively focused on watching a screaming Leslie Mann chase after her slacking husband, Paul Rudd, in an almost unbelievably ridiculous and irritating way. It’s a similar situation to the fellow stoners, an initially entertaining side note that’s just dragged out too much, and it’s never really that hilarious anyway.
On the whole, I did enjoy Knocked Up. It has a generally good sense of humour, some great performances across the board, and both an interesting and entertaining central plot. That said, it’s way too long, and its excessive focus on unfunny and unnecessary side stories and characters makes for an often frustrating watch, and that’s why I’m giving this a 7.4.