Knocked Up

High Fidelity

“The subject of abortion shall be discouraged, shall never be more than suggested, and when referred to shall be condemned. It must never be treated lightly, or made the subject of comedy. Abortion shall never be shown explicitly or by inference, and a story must not indicate that an abortion has been performed, the word “abortion” shall not be used.” No, that’s not an excerpt from Texas State Senate Bill 1. That’s a December 1956 amendment to the Motion Picture Production Code (MPPC), the Hollywood studio system’s internal playbook for strictly regulating content until 1966. The amendment was a clarification of, and addition to, a prior amendment from March 1951 which was a bit more direct and concise in its stance about representing abortion in the movies: “Abortion, sex hygiene and venereal diseases are not proper subjects for theatrical motion pictures.” I find this older quote more interesting, for it not only tells us about what moral gatekeepers thought of the subject of abortion, but also betrays the MPPC’s perspective of the limited utility of movies as a whole: as both a means for light escapism and affirmative moral pedagogy, but not a forum for discussing serious (or, rather actual) issues and situations. The history of abortion in American movies is, not surprisingly, largely a history of absence. But what is perhaps a bit surprising is how little American movies have referenced abortion since the quoted amendments descended into obsolescence. This despite the fact that the ratings system, New Hollywood, and […]

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The only way you can describe the new trailer for This Is 40 is to say that it looks, unmistakably, like a Judd Apatow film. Not only are his wife and kids front and center, but so are a ton of other actors that he’s known for collaborating with, they’re all engaging in that stoner-shenanigans-that-still-tug-on-the-heartstrings humor that Apatow perfected if not invented, and it’s all set to a George Harrison song that feels like it was written precisely so it could accompany the sentimental hard sell of a trailer for a Judd Apatow movie.

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Here comes This Is 40, Judd Apatow‘s self-confessed “sort-of sequel” to Knocked Up, and while it looks like Paul Rudd‘s Pete and Leslie Mann‘s Debbie have sufficiently ironed out their relationship issues, pretty much everything else seems to be falling apart around them. Mortified by their imminent aging (Debbie, in particular, refuses to accept that she’s now turning the big 4-0), the pair embark on a new way of life, thanks to Debbie’s “do better” list. As the film’s first trailer shows us, they have plenty to do when it comes to doing better. They’ll work out! They’ll stand up to bullies! They will make their kids spend more time outside! They’ll probably totally muck up everything! While the trailer’s use of fun.’s “We Are Young” is both too spot-on and too grating, this first look at This Is 40 shows that the film should be packed with that Apatowian mix of heart, humor, and honesty that mark his finest films. Also of note, we should all be so lucky to look like Mann in our fourth decade.

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If Jesus or Tupac ever finally return like we’ve all been saying they will, they should probably do it in a Judd Apatow film or something like that. We love cameos, don’t we? It’s especially delightful when it’s extremely unexpected, and of course extra points if they are playing themselves – or better yet some kind of silly version of themselves. It’s all about recognizing the kind of person you are perceived to be, and then playing off that in a way that makes the audience realize that you are in on the joke. If a celebrity is able to do that, it’s instant coolness.

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Today People Magazine unveiled their annual “Sexiest Man Alive” winner, crushing the hopes and dreams of thousands of starving beautiful men who thought, maybe just this once, they could have been a contender (better luck next year boys). While Bradley Cooper is a tasty, if not boring, morsel of man, as far as I know he has yet to perform in a movie sex scene. Making him completely of no interest to me in regards to this column. Please correct me if I’m wrong in the comments, as I will for sure need to brush up on my Bradley Cooper sexy-time if it does exist. But enough about my personal disappointment in People Magazine’s cornering of the Sexiest Man Alive market, for today is also the day before the night before the opening of the fourth movie in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn: Part I. Now this little tween fantasy is definitely of interest to me for more than its loose definition of what constitutes child pornography. I have (like almost all women in need of a good train wreck) annually paid good money to the Summit gods for the Twilight experience, and this Friday will be no different. Fans of the sparkly vampire series have (im)patiently waited through the first three films for two Breaking Dawn scenes, one completely contingent on the other. If the press tour mumblings of the film’s stars are anything to believe, Twi-hards should already prepare themselves for some hot and heavy action during Bella […]

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It’s time to crank up the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, imbibe in your favorite – LEGAL – activity, and start the baby making. In this week’s Commentary Commentary, we’re hitting up one of the best comedies of the past 10 years, Knocked Up. Aside from being one of the dozen films that have made Judd Apatow a vigintillionaire, apart from being the film that landed Seth Rogen on the A-list, the movie is just damned funny. Heart-warming, of course. What would an Apatow movie be without heart? Well, it would probably be You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, but we’re not even going to mention that abomination here. Just ignore that previous utterance of the title. Anyway, back to Knocked Up, Apatow has amassed a solid line-up for his commentary track. Rogen and co-star Bill Hader are on board to deliver their own stories and insight into the making of the film. Something tells me the commenting under the influence didn’t stop with last week’s movie. That Rogen sure likes to partake. He’s always stoned. And funny. Mostly funny. But one might have a hand in the other. So here’s what we learned from the commentary track to Knocked Up. Cue the ODB!

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As we all already know, Judd Apatow is taking the characters created by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in Knocked Up and giving them their own story. Now, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that negotiations are happening for Megan Fox to join the cast in some capacity. What exactly that capacity is, is still a production secret, but the typecasting options aren’t really numerous. She could play a sexy temptress for Paul Rudd to get sexily tempted by, she could play a slutty babysitter for Paul Rudd to be tempted by, or she could play a rocket scientist teaching philosophy at the local college who acts as a stirring mentor figure who dispenses wisdom just at the right moment. In all honesty, and without sarcasm, the big question is whether Megan Fox can do character-based comedy. She made fun of herself in a Funny or Die video a while back, but that doesn’t exactly translate to playing a role with some of the best comedic improvisers in the business. The apathetic smugness of her line delivery in every other flick she’s in doesn’t seem like it works for comedy. Unless she takes it over the top. That’s it. She can play a ridiculously apathetic rocket scientist.

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Adam Sandler lucked out. Instead of having to sell his soul to the Devil to become a top-grossing, leading man, he found a inexplicable role that Hollywood continues to perpetuate and sell to the masses: the smug, amoral love interest. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Sandler returns with Just Go with It, in which he pretends to be a married man as a way of roping in sympathetic woman. His best friend (Jennifer Aniston) strongly disagrees with his practices – think they’ll fall in love? Of course they will, this isn’t a Lars von Trier film. Forgiveness is pushed to its limits in American romantic comedies and Sandler isn’t the only offender. Countless relationships have blossomed from a quick change of heart and a tagged-on apology, and the formula continues to work. When the nice guys finish last, these guys finish first:

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Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann have been on board with Judd Apatow for a new film for a while. Fortunately, it sounds like they’ll both be starring, and they’ll be tackling their Knocked Up characters again. According to Apatow, “people really responded to their characters and problems.  I felt like there was a lot of ground I could explore with them.” That’s absolutely true. Great chemistry and great takes on what married life really means. This means that Apatow is definitely not done exploring his favorite theme, and that it’s unclear whether this film will be heavier on comedy or on heartbreak. It also leaves the question open of whether Katherine Heigl will be back since her character was Mann’s character’s sister. And if Heigl’s back, wouldn’t Seth Rogen be back? And then wouldn’t it be a sequel to Knocked Up essentially? [HitFix]

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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randy-header

Judd Apatow’s, Adam Sandler starring, Funny People is nearing release, and as such, the online presence is stepping up. In this case we have a website.

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Ten Chick Flicks Guys Can Like Too

In the interest of keeping us sane while being deluged with romantic comedies and period pieces, here’s a list guys can use next time they’re at the video store with their significant other. When in doubt, check out one of these chick flicks that are safe for guys to like too.

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The Ten Hottest Baby Mamas in Movie History

When I first saw the trailers for Baby Mama, I couldn’t help thinking how many other movies have pregnancy in the story somewhere. And since I’m a bit of a pig (yeah, I went there), I couldn’t help but think how many of these pregnant characters were hot.

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Judd Apatow

According to Yahoo! news, Judd Apatow, who has become a juggernaut of comedies in the last three years with films like Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin and Superbad will be honored as Comedy Person of the Year at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, July 10-20.

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The Writers Guild of America have announced their awards show as set for February 9th, and have released the nominees for best original screenplay, best adapted screenplay and best documentary screenplay.

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Looking back on the year that was 2007, what scenes or moments from films will live on? What will people be quoting a year from now — McLovin or Dewey Cox?

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As we begin our look back at 2007 at the movies, we start where most people usually start their movie experience — with the posters.

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Is it just me, or have most of the best comedies this year been about someone getting pregnant? Or, in the case of Superbad, someone trying to do the things that lead to spawning a child?

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With election season in full swing, it’s no surprise when news of someone ‘clarifying’ a statement hits the fan.

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Katherine Heigl in the upcoming Vanity Fair issue, leaked today, suggesting that her highly raved-about and critically acclaimed movie Knocked Up is “a little sexist.”

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
C

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