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Opinion: Knocked up? Thumbs Down

Nicole Eggenberger | Tuesday, September 25, 2007

“Knocked Up,” the comedy from the makers of 40-Year Old Virgin, is a film that has grossed millions of dollars worldwide. As the film comes out on DVD, be warned that this flick is not for everyone.

The problem with “Knocked Up” was that the subject matter was very serious, meaning some moments in the movie caused more tears than laughter.

The main two couples in the film dealt with complicated, but familiar life-altering situations, which make the subject matter too realistic to be funny. After Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) finds out she is pregnant with Ben Stone’s (Seth Rogen) baby, the movie switches from comedic to depressing where Alison is crying that Ben is neither supportive nor capable of being a decent father or relationship partner. Alison’s sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) has an equally difficult time with the man in her life, husband Pete (Paul Rudd), who lies and ignores her on a regular basis.

Had the women’s behavior been depicted as funny, the film as a whole would have been a comedy. But the women were instead portrayed as the victims and the men as the insensitive jerks. Alison and Ben have serious arguments where Alison is crying that Ben is high all the time and unable to be there for her when she needs him. It is not funny to watch a pregnant women plead to her child’s father to stop smoking pot and take an active role in being a parent instead. Who could laugh when a pregnant woman is crying about feeling completely alone and uncared for? Some may laugh at Ben’s daytime activities of smoking pot and watching porn, but his actions directly affect Alison and force her to do everything for herself. Her days consist of doctor appointments, pain and nausea, and attempts to hide her pregnancy for her career’s sake. That’s not funny -that’s just sad.

Debbie and Pete’s relationship is equally heartbreaking. Debbie longs to regain a friendship with Pete, but he wants distance. Pete says, “Do you ever wonder how somebody could even like you? The biggest problem in our marriage is that she wants me around. And I can’t even accept that? I don’t think I can accept pure love.” He is married but doesn’t want to be around his wife and doesn’t think he loves her the way she loves him. That is sad. While she is completely devoted to him and wants to be even closer to him, he wants to get away and be alone. When Pete lies to Debbie about where he goes at night, she cries about how hurt she is that he would lie and not want to spend that time alone with her. Debbie says, “You think because you don’t yell, you’re not mean. This is mean.” That is not funny; it’s awful to see someone so hurt by someone she cares so much about.

“Knocked Up” definitely has its funny moments, but usually they deal with other characters and are not related to the movie’s main relationships. Luckily the film ends with Ben pulling his life together and making a home for Alison and their baby, but the couple only reached that point after a sad and depressing nine months.

Pete tells Ben, “Marriage is like that show ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ but it’s not funny. All the problems are the same, but you know instead of all the funny, pithy dialogue, everybody is really pissed off and tense.” That’s how “Knocked Up” was – like an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but not as funny.

The views expressed in Scene and Heard are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.Contact Nicole Eggenberger at neggenbe@nd.edu