"Knocked Up" – A Story by and for the Boys
I saw “Knocked Up” a couple of nights ago, and I was underwhelmed. What I had expected to focus on a highly female experience was told from the point of view of immature males. First, to respond at the depth the movie encouraged, that is, shallowly, I couldn’t believe the couple. The woman, Kathleen Heigl, was beautiful, and she can act; I’ve seen her in Grey’s Anatomy. The male lead was about as unlikely as possible, and certainly no pleasure for females to look at. (Did I mention “shallow”?)And he declaimed rather than acted. I couldn’t feel any chemistry between him and Kathleen Heigl, or, indeed, between him and his future brother-in-law. He was the geeky guy who got, so to speak, the girl, and thus the projection of male fantasies.
The jokes and gags were male-oriented; it was a story about how one of the gaggle of pointlessly-stupid males got cut from the herd. From the bong jokes to the practical-joke jokes, it was male sentimentality and gross-out humour all the way. Even the sex scene was about the male’s problems with sex with a pregnant woman, not about her experience, except for her frustration at his irrational idiocy.
One contrast to this male-oriented approach did exist. Kathleen Heigl kept her bra on and her butt covered in all the sex scenes while he had his ass clearly displayed on camera – no treat that! However, there were improbably large breasts displayed in the nightclub scene to balance Heigl’s dignity.
I had read that “Knocked Up” was a “sweet” story of young people taking responsibility and “growing up”. What I saw was a version of the “Animal House” approach applied (quite improbably) to a situation that could have been seen in a less shallow and more nuanced way.
I give it a finger down the throat.