The Mark of Excellence

Knocked Up

Directed by Judd Apatow

> > Nov 2007

Knocked Up - Directed by Judd Apatow
By James KeastIt’s been quite a year for director Judd Apatow and the posse of actors he’s remained loyal to since his days as creator of acclaimed, short-lived television series like Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared. Following up The 40-Year-Old Virgin with this unlikely story of beauty and the stoner, what makes Knocked Up so delightful is its balance of sweet and tart, of the romantic and comically, graphically repulsive. Surrounding the stoner (writer/actor Seth Rogan) are Rogan’s real gang of actor pals, many of whom shared screen time on Apatow’s TV shows: Jason Segal, Jay Baruchel, Martin Starr and Superbad’s Jonah Hill. Encircling the beauty (Katherine Heigl) is primarily Apatow’s family, including his wife Leslie Mann as her married-with-children sister, with their two daughters on screen as well. Knocked Up is balanced and hilarious; the fact that this "unrated and expanded” version includes some bare breasts (to Apatow’s distress) and extra-crude riffing doesn’t upset that. Once you’ve seen the film, there’s not a lot more to it, so the rest of the DVD just makes shit up to often-hilarious effect. The best of these is the "Finding Ben Stone” featurette, where Apatow fictionalises his search for a leading man with filmed on-set cameos of various options, from the slightly implausible (Superbad’s Michael Cera) to the patently absurd (Orlando Bloom, James Franco, Apatow himself). The presence of Numbers star David Krumholtz in this sequence (hilariously channelling Harvey Keitel’s rage in a supposedly romantic scene) undercuts the "true story” of Gummy: The Sixth Roommate — apparently, Krumholtz was supposed to be one of Rogan’s roommates before dropping out to do a Woody Allen film that then fell apart. Apatow, in the featurette, delights in this karmic backlash but it’s likely made up too. Nearly every other extra involves cut footage of Rogan and gang riffing like the best friends they are; Apatow takes an improv approach to the whole film and told the friends that whoever was funniest would make the final cut, leaving a slew of hilarity on the cutting room floor. Good thing too — Apatow’s "video diaries” are the most boring featurette here. Plus: gag reels, extended scenes, commentary and more.
(Universal)
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