Lately, the concept of the typical American comedy has been totally broken. When we go on a light-hearted movie, we get a stupid and intolerable product, after which we regret that we spent money on it. The situation slightly changed when Judd Apatow's debut appeared on the screens. "The 40-year old virgin" became a breakthrough in the standard of American comedies. The viewers and the critics were fascinated with a fresh and acceptable approach on sex matters. 2 years have passed and Apatow came back with a totally new movie - "Knocked Up".
Ben Stone is a plump and ambitionless young man, who is living with his friends in a shabby house in California. He is unemployed, pays rent from his insurance policy and is getting ready to start a website, in which you can see where your favorite stars act nude in the movies. While carrying on with his idyllic life, he goes to a club and meets an ambitious reporter-to-be, Allison Scott. They get drunk together and after a while they land in bed and have sex. A couple of weeks later, Allison finds out that she's pregnant and tells Ben about the situation. Suddenly, he must sacrifice his perfect life and meet the realities of starting a family. It won't be as easy as he thought it would be.
In the U.S.A., "Knocked Up" was a huge success. Kyle Smith, a New York Post's movie critic said these words about it: "An era-defining comedy classic to rank with Little Miss Sunshine. It's this generation's When Harry Met Sally, and it's even better than The 40-Year-Old Virgin, because the freakish situation it uses as a setup is life.". "Believe the hype, Knocked Up is one of the funniest films of 2007." - declared Mark Bell, a journalist from Film Threat. Even the overall users rating on Rotten Tomatoes has reached 89%, which can be defined as a huge success of the American comedy. How do we, the Polish look at this revolutionary flick?
The film is a two-way street. The first side of it concentrates on the typical "American Pie" wit. Ben's friends are an exact example of this kind of teenage American behavior. They "fart" on each other's pillows, daily talk about sex issues, hunt naked women in the movies, have an obsession about female breasts and find smoking weed as a great home party relaxation method. Generally, it looks like a mirror of the modern teenage society. They focus on the outside beauty; forget about responsibility (because they are still young) and care only about self-pleasure and self-satisfaction. The Americans sometimes know how to laugh from themselves and I think that the positive reaction on this movie in the U.S.A. is an evidence for that.
The second side focuses on the reality. "Knocked Up" depicts two visions of family life. One is the married-with-children couple Pete and Debbie. As Alison's sister, Debbie is helping her with the occurring problems and presents the phobias of the everyday marriage life (according to the American standards). As a (theoretically) happy couple, they live in the suburbs, which is a gathering of houses containing many various personalities. They are a pair of caring parents, so as a precaution they check the neighbourhood, searching for pedophiles, perverts and other "freaks of nature". Surprisingly, they are not the ideal image for Alison and Ben, who represent the second vision, this time of a forced and starting family. Still, they fit into the general depiction of "knocked up" families that don't want to leave their partner alone and are conscious of not having abortion. In the following 9 months, they'll do anything for the baby and try to find out about themselves as much as they can. The ironic way in which the situation is presented is having a bittersweet taste. Once, we laugh while seeing Ben and Alison trying to have sex during her pregnancy, but then we make our faces look serious, while they're arguing on important matters.
What makes "Knocked Up" a revolutionary movie? Apatow doesn't make generalizations in the script. In this way, it looks like it has been taken from real life. The comic scenes are providing us with natural wit about the modern realities. If the film would have been written by Polish scriptwriters, they would definitely include a possibility of getting married before the child is born. But Apatow is an American and he knows his background very well. That's why the American standards of comedy writing are not so visible here. Indeed, we have a happy ending, but the actions that appear in the middle take unpredictable turns - just like in life. I enjoyed that Alison wasn't so madly in love, but her feeling was growing steadily and gradually, which made their arguments so real.
If you're looking for a comedy you only want to laugh at, go to the video store and borrow one part of the "Scary Movie" series. Many Polish viewers indicated that "Knocked Up" is a boring flick. I'm sorry, but I can't agree with you. The movie is a natural and realistic analysis on early parenthood and will probably be accepted only by viewers 20+. The main character isn't a handsome Don Juan and the girl is not a stupid blonde, so there are no typical schemes. All of this is taken from real life and Apatow knows how to depict human vices and follies in a comic way. And if you don't like the film, you might be just like Ben - not grown enough to understand what the fuss is all about.