Lately, it’s seemed that critical esteem and popular success have not only parted ways but are scurrying apart, head down in true Walk of Shame fashion, so it’s nice to see that "Knocked Up" has turned out to not only be one of the best-reviewed films of the year â€” Andrew Sarris even graced it with a Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder comparison â€” but also a hit at the box office. It’s even, as pointed out by Glenn Kenny at Premiere, received the equivalent of a grimacing air hug from unexpected sources like the National Review for its, to cite another unexpected pop proponent of traditional values, "He says that he’s going to marry me / We can raise a little family" storyline.
Still, there have been notable dissenters, and on top of Dana Stevens‘ "speaking for the women" review at Slate (an approach that generally gets our hackles up) there’s now Peter Bart at Variety, who echoes some of Stevens’ points on the credibility of the film’s set-up: "Are we so ‘values driven’ that we’re prepared to overlook the fact that the ‘values’ of this film defy credibility?" He adds:
With all its trash talk and its drug paraphernalia, "Knocked Up" is, at its core, a thoroughly sentimental exercise. The sentiment is salted with some superbly satiric scenes sending up medical practitioners, E! Channel producers and almost everyone else along the way. [Judd] Apatow clearly is a young writer who can write brilliant scenes, but not yet brilliant stories.
We’re not going to debate the details of the movie itself, but we do feel that Mr. Bart is missing a certain point; Apatow has produced a sentimental exercise. This film and "The 40 Year Old Virgin" aren’t aspiring toward legendarily dirty comedy status, they’re attempting to fend off what have become compulsive protective coatings of irony and cynicism to reach something sincere and, sure, sentimental in their portrayals of romance and friendship. It’s not such a bad thing, regardless of the feasibility of a lack of debate on a "rhymes with ‘shmashmortion.’"
In other news on the film, Canadian author Rebecca Eckler is suing Apatow and Universal Studios for stealing her ideas; more specifically, the ones detailed in her book "Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-be." She writes about the lawsuit at Macleans magazine.
+ Knocking the ‘Knocked Up’ boys (Premiere)
+ Not getting ‘Knocked Up’ (Variety)
+ The Canadian author of ‘Knocked Up’ on why she’s suing Judd Apatow and Universal over Apatow’s new movie (Macleans.ca)
+ Take that, Ang Lee (Risky Biz Blog)