“Knocked Up”: Genuine, goofy and gross, but not gay


With all the praise being heaped all over Knocked Up, I thought I’d take a gander at the unexpected insemination comedy to see what all the guffawing was about. I had enjoyed director Judd Apatow’s first film, the sweetly silly The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and was therefore curious to see whether the reigning king of dork cool (a title he wrested from Napoleon Dynamite’s Jared Hess) could avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.

All in all, I would have to give Apatow a "mission accomplished" thumbs up (but not in that premature-landing-on-an-aircraft-carrier’s-flight-deck kind of way). The first 15–20 minutes were perhaps the most continuous giggling I’ve done at a movie since, well, let’s just say a long time. The balance of genuine to goofy to gross was spot on. Those E! scenes alone made me “tighten” my stomach muscles with merry convulsions.

Of course, having said that, I also left the theater just a tad bemused. While the film was an entirely pleasant and intermittently hilarious way to spend two hours and change, I’m not sure I related to all the rapturous reviews. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t connecting to its supposedly pitch-perfect look at the different ways men and women view love, relationships and commitment. Which got me thinking: Maybe it’s a straight thing.

Let’s face it: As much as gay and straight relationships can be strikingly similar, they are still strikingly different. I mean, the film’s very conceit is one that would never happen in a gay relationship, barring some kind of scientific breakthrough or a detour into heteroville. There will be no, “I went home with this girl from the club and then 8 weeks later, oops, looks like we’re having a baby” moment for us. That doesn’t mean we can’t relate to the idea of needing to grow up quickly or face life-altering decisions, but that particular life-altering decision usually comes after careful considerations, lengthy planning and the purchase of a turkey baster.

Also, amid all the high comedy high jinks about pot, married life and Cirque du Soleil, I couldn’t stop thinking that Katherine Heigl is WAY TOO HOT for Seth Rogen. Interesting side note: Seth told Entertainment Weekly that he got his start in comedy playing a lesbian bar. Having said that, does he not look exactly like about six lesbians you knew in college? (Minus the facial hair, or not, depending on your circle of friends … )

At this point, someone will get mad and tell me how superficial I am and how looks don’t matter and how as evolved women we’ve moved beyond the physical. Of course, that is all true. I agree. Certainly, real-life odd couple pairings happen all the time. I believe women, in particular, tend to look for more than a pretty outer wrapping. We’re far more interested in the sweet confection that lies inside all that shiny tinsel.

Still, my objection to this beauty gap has less to do with the realism of a shlubby guy hooking up with a stunning woman than the fact that the shlubby guy hooking up with the stunning woman has become a distinct comedy subgenre. If you think I’m kidding, please see the leading-man careers of Jack Black, Kevin James, Jim Belushi, et al. It’s not even that these rotund funny fellas have found on-screen love with the Kate Winslets, Leah Reminis and Courtney Thorne-Smiths of the world that annoys me most. It’s that there is no similar chubby-to-hottie formula when it comes to the ladies. Can you think of more than five films or TV shows where a pleasantly plump gal gets a hunka-hunka guy? Let’s face it, even before Rosie O’Donnell became the world’s most notorious ex-Viewer, Hollywood wasn’t exactly lining up to pair her romantically with Brad Pitt.

And, while I’m on a roll, can I just add that if one more person in the film referred to Leslie Mann‘s character in Knocked Up as “old,” I was going to commit hara-kiri with a box of Junior Mints. The woman is 35. 35! My God, do women really start worrying that random men in clubs will no longer consider them doable when they’re 35? Seriously? I don’t know, maybe it’s a straight thing.

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