Knocked Up


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Katherine Heigl plays the up-and-coming star of E! television, a totally professional go-getter with a sunny disposition and a sympathetic personality. On the night following a big promotion, she goes out to celebrate and really enjoys hanging out with a lovable slacker who makes her laugh. She enjoys it so much that she ends up pregnant, and makes the decision to keep the baby. Her impending motherhood prompts her to get acquainted with the flabby slacker (Seth Rogan) who has fathered her imminent child.

The film combines rom-com sentimentality with a raunchy youth-comedy sensibility. The film's auteur is Judd Apatow, who also wrote and directed The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and has brought a fresh take on raunchy R-rated youth-oriented comedies. Two elements unique to the genre:

1) There are no evil, larger-than-life antagonists: no Beulah Ballbricker, no Porky, no Dean Wormer, no bullying jocks, no snooty rich pricks. The essence of the dramatic conflict, such as it is, derives from inside characters who are trying to evolve while they adjust to one another, experiencing the customary fits and starts of human relationships. In order to triumph, the main characters have to overcome something inside themselves, not some stereotypical symbol of oppression.

2) The women are fully-rounded characters. In the traditional mold for the raunchy comedy, the women are restricted to certain roles: (a) the flawless virginal girl-next-door  (b) the controlling bitch (c) the object of sexual lust whose personality is irrelevant. Apatow's women have strengths and weaknesses and seem like real people. If there is any weakness to his approach to female characters it's that the women don't get  an equal share of the zingers. Of course that reflects life to some extent, but the stories are still constricted by the exclusively male point of view. The factor which made the dialogue in When Harry Met Sally so effective is that it was co-written by a man and a woman, with each providing dialogue and a suitable spin on the characters of the writer's own gender. Apatow is moving in a good direction, but should pull a funny woman, someone like Sarah Silverman, into his circle.

Many people have questioned whether the hot, brainy career woman would even give the aimless stoner an opportunity to come into her life solely on the basis of his entrenched DNA, but that situation does follow logically from these characters. One of the most interesting things about this film is that it's not afraid to challenge society's notions of winners and losers. Although Heigl is the responsible and successful one of the romantic pairing, she has paid a steep price for her success. She has no friends, no boyfriend, and absolutely no life at all outside of the walls of the E! studio. She doesn't quite live in her parents' basement, but it's close - she lives in her sister's guest house.  Rogan, on the other hand, basks in the camaraderie of a male bonding group. His friends live in their own place, and really seem to enjoy their lives. They may not be grown-ups, and they may not have ambition, but the reason they haven't "moved on" is that they are satisfied with what they have. So which one of the romantic couple is the loser? The answer to that is not as clear as it first seems to be, and it's easy to understand why Heigl might find it appealing to kick back with a sincere guy who has genuine friends, just as Rogan might enjoy the chance to clean up now and again. Each of them has something to offer the other, and that makes their pairing plausible.

Between those complexities and the marriage of Heigl's sister and brother-in-law, this film has a lot of complex subtext for a raunchy comedy.

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


By our definition it absolutely fits the "A/B" mold. It is a critical darling and took in some box office gold. Everyone seems to like it more than I do! This may be the first time that I ever posted such a lofty grade for a movie that I don't really respond to enthusiastically.


  • A live birth sequence shows a woman's genitalia. Obviously, this is not Heigl, but another woman who is actually giving birth. The extremely graphic nature of this scene caused Anne Hathaway, who was originally cast in the Heigl role, to withdraw from the project.
  • Some topless strippers (Stormy Daniels and Nautica Thorn) are seen in the Vegas sequence
  • One breast from a "girlfriend" who is nearly an extra. (Emerson Riley)
  • Seth Rogan's butt
  • One other male bum. (Jason Segal)


3.5 James Berardinelli (of 4 stars)
97 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
85 (of 100)


Box Office Mojo. It was budgeted at $30 million for production, and was distributed to about 2900 theaters. It grossed $148 million in the USA and $61 million elsewhere.



8.3 IMDB summary (of 10)















* tremendous DVD. Almost an hour of deleted and alternate scenes and two hours of featurettes, including a 30 minute mockumentary on casting the Seth Rogan part - a beautiful piece of comedy that may be funnier than the movie itself.

"I'm Orlando Fucking Bloom, dammit."