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E.C. Henry

The casting of Katherine Heigl made the show for me. She is SO GORGEOUS. I heard that Jennifer Love Hewitt was considered for that role, but after seeing "Knocked Up" I can't imagine her doing a better job then Katherine Heigl.

Like "40 Year Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" suffers from an excess of raunchiness. Too much in the sex in the bedroom, drug use, and swearing for my tastes, AND the tastes of many other people, I fear. Wish Judd Apatow would scale that back a couple notches, I think it would do wonders for the BROADER appeal of his movies.

Found myself bored for most of the picture. Never could really root for Seth Rogan's lead man: to much drug use, to little respect for women. BUT I loved how he came arround at the end in the deliver room scene and with Katherine Heigl when she went into labor. THATS where story got good -- just as it was ending.

Still, when all is said done, you're right, Billy; the "macho chick flick" is alive and well. Good to have you back.

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

Betsy

I couldn't agree more except for one thing: if I weren't married, I would totally go out with Seth Rogen. (And let me tell you: oh yes, I roll out of bed looking just like Katherine Heigl) I went out with more than a couple of guys like that, minus a little pot maybe, but... not much!
But for me: it's officially on my top ten favorite movies ever.

jamy

My main complaint is with what you mentioned in the spoiler section: there is no development of the relationship between the two main characters. I mean, Rogan had a deeper bond with his future brother-in-law than the future mother of his child! I count that as a major flaw.

However, I agree with all your other comments--the dialogue was clever, the characters were interesting--especially the slacker friends--and the jokes were funny.

It is a little missing a heart though, since the main relationship isn't developed. It's a shame.

Christina

A couple things. First, I'm pissed that the guys discuss Steely Dan. The rom com I've been working on the past year where the male protag is in an indie band has a Steely Dan subplot and I'll probably have to ditch it now.

Second, this sounds like the big-screen cousin to the Sex and the City subplot where Miranda - the uptight attorney - get pregnant by her (one-balled) slacker bartender boyfriend, Steve. The series focused on them overcoming their differences in social status as they start to raise the baby as friends and end up lovers again.

I finally saw Music and Lyrics at the rec' of my mother who saw it on a plane. It was much better than I expected, though "underwhelming" is the right adjective. I'll have to search in your archives (if you wrote about) and find out what didn't work for you. I can't put my finger on it? But I'll give it this - the opening "music video w/ a plot" sequence was brilliant. So 1987.

MaryAn

The real romance in Music and Lyrics is between me and the snarky winks at the 80's. The onscreen romance doesn't work because Drew Barrymore's performance doesn't work. She's cute. But, not in love and not funny. Hugh Grant's performace as an 80's has been is witty and charming but his character would have been better off falling in love with Greg, the rhyming psychopath. Still, I love the 80's so one man's trash...

Knocked Up, however? Ugh. But, like I said, one man's trash. Or, woman's, in this case...

lizriz

RE: a "masculine" sensibility - What's really going on here, IMHO, is women aren't all that different from men. Most hollywood romcoms are based on these old fashioned notions about women that clearly someone in Hollywood really wants to be true... but simply aren't for a lot of us. You definitely touched on that here, that romcoms based on how we actually ARE is such a relief!

Finally, I don't really get the whole "how the hell is she supposed to end up with... that?" Everyone's saying it, but I've found that when you're actually talking relationship, men and women tend to focus on what's really important to them... and they usually find that looks are only so important. And I guess I just don't find Seth Grogan to be out of Katherine Heigl's league.

Rachel Hauck

Now I'm going to have to SEE the movie.

As for the plot flaw, "how did she fall in love with him?" Consider first, the movie was written by a man. ;) Doesn't love just happen? Aren't I so GREAT in bed she had to fall for me? ;)

But also consider that Apatow's approach mirrors all the rom-coms where the every-day-girl wins the heart of the the over the top, sexy, gorgeous, hunky, rich/famous man that every woman in Hollywood and NY wants. (Win A Date with Tad Hamilton)

This is the man's version. "We get the gorgeous girl we can't get in real life."

That's why it works even though Ben has none of the qualities a lot of upwardly mobile, gorgeous woman look for in a mate.

I like it!

Rachel

hucklecat

Just saw it last night and loved it. Like others, I was surprised at how far they took the raunchiness, but it was all just so damn funny.

My biggest problem with the plot isn't how they fall in love, but why she would have wanted his support in the first place. After that morning-after breakfast, I simply can't believe that she'd give him a chance to show her how sweet he is.

lizriz

Personally, I think more and more "upwardly mobile women" will be looking for househusbands as time goes on. Maybe that's why Seth Grogan's character worked for me - I was like, that's some good househusband material right there!

Laura Reyna

"His characters -- fundamentally decent at heart -- talk the way adults talk these days, expletives included, and their concerns are the concerns that conscious grown-ups have."

I think part of the reason for the success of male-oriented Rom Coms is that, even though the leads are often immature slobs, the movies themselves seem to be more adult oriented, like they were meant for adults.

The past female-centric Rom Coms tended to feel like they were being made for 14 yr old girls. Too saccheriney & unbelieveable.

The Ephron-type Rom Coms of the past were incredibly fluffy & LIGHTWEIGHT. So much so, they didn't seem to be grounded in the truth of real relationships. So lightweight as to not be dealing with the real world we all know.

The escapist tone of those movies appeal to some, but I can only take so much fluff.

mernitman

EC: Heigl is great, isn't she? Could be another rom-com "next Meg or Julia" contender -- unfortunately her next project is a very mediocre wedding rom-com called 27 DRESSES...

Betsy: Glad you liked it, too. My feeling re: Rogen's Ben character isn't about his physical appearance per se, but the notion that such an unlikely guy in personality and prospects (versus what we've seen from Heigl's Alison) would win her over so easily.

Jamy: Yes, but when you compare it to the average studio rom-com on all those levels, I think we enter "let's be thankful for something this funny/good" territory.

Christina: You're right re: the "Sex and the City" precedent, but this is the first major feature r.c. to take on a similar plot and the specifics vary pretty widely.

Funny, I only just saw "Music & Lyrics" on the flight back from London -- it is SUCH an airplane movie! And yes, the faux-Wham video is priceless... a couple decent gags here and there... but cheez-whiz, if you see it after viewing "Once" (a movie about songwriters that really gets it right), you see what a facile, contrived piece'o'sap "Lyrics" really is, despite its minor passing pleasures.

As for the Dan, I can't help you (no one can) but I think the vagaries of time may help you. You know, after we've reeled in some years and lost Rickki's number an' all...

MaryAn: I liked Hugh, too, but the characters on the page are thin (i.e. I don't think it was all Drew's fault).

Re: "Up" is that an "ugh" based on actually seeing the movie? Just curious.

Welcome Lizriz: So true, that real v. fantasy issue. Re: the Rogen/Heigl match-up, again, I think it has more to do with what the script itself sets up for us; we're told (shown) that these two have virtually nothing in common on a substantive level... and then they're shot-putted into "love" in five minutes of screen time. Not saying this doesn't happen in real life! But in REEL life, I guess we expect a little more logic...

Hey Rachel: That's so spot-on! This is what I mean by "Macho Chick Flick" -- it seems to be different, given the male POV, but it totally embraces the same values (and wish-fulfillment fantasies) as the old female-driven paradigm.

Hucklecat: Yup. But interesting how truly witty writing can make us forgive a multitude of sins, eh?

Lizriz: Hmmm... I smell a new internet service springing up...

Laura: That's a fascinating point -- the traditional female rom-com paradigm IS written from an adolescent (i.e. girl saved by a prince) POV -- and I wish I'd said it here first.

Janet

I told myself that I wasn't going to read this post until I had seen the movie, but that might not be for, say another month. I will say that it's impressed me considerably before I've even seen it. It's very rare that my guy friends get excited about a romantic comedy. Some of them have seen it several times in theaters and are counting down the days when it comes out on DVD. Which... wow. Knocked Up has a romantic appeal for men, which not to stereotype, but really is a rarity for the genre.

Enjoyed reading as always.

debbieb

Thanks Billy! Another wonderful post from you! I so enjoyed KNOCKED UP and also MUSIC AND LYRICS and THE HOLIDAY!!!

It's all about love! I think there's room for all the variations on the oh so excellent
romantic comedy genre!!!

Long may it live!!!

Writer hugs

dottie

Does anybody remember that running gag on SNL where Jon Lovitz played a fat loser watching TV, munching a big bag of chips, and a banner title ran on the bottom of the screen that said, "LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS"? Satirizing the mixed messages women were getting about not expecting too much greatness/fun/pleasure from men in their lives . . . .

This movie is like the prequel to Mike Judge's "Idiocracy."

I didn't get an iota of pleasure from it. The basic premise was comic, Billy, granted; but the treatment of the characters and theme were so toxic and dispiriting to my romantic soul that I had to go home and watch History Is Made at Night three times before I felt cleansed again.

I thought "Along Came Polly" was the nadir of grossout romantic comedy "from the guy's point of view." I was wrong.

Sometimes all you can say is BLECCCH!

mernitman

Janet: Well, as some other readers have pointed out, this is a wish-fulfillment fantasy for men and nerd-men (i.e. "A hot chick like Katherine Heigl can fall in love with... me!"). But also, like WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, it's a rom-com that fully articulates a male POV (while interestingly, also letting women have their say; witness the scene between Katherine and Leslie, in argument with a club doorman and after, that's searingly honest about what women are often up against in an unfairly sexist world).

Debbie: Thanks as always for your buoyantly upbeat thoughts!!!

Dottie: I completely respect your point of view and understand where you're coming from. But I have the most weirdly eclectic taste of anyone I know, which is why I can say, I love Borzage and HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT... and I love this movie, too.

Much as KNOCKED may look like "what has our fine genre devolved into?!" to some, in my bizarrely egalitarian brain, both aesthetic expressions are valid. Some nights only Von Sternberg will do -- some nights I want THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY.

And let's not forget that HISTORY, for all its sublime subtleties, has some outrageous, wildly contrived plot turns that make KNOCKED look positively Moliere-ian in structure. At any rate, that's (as they say) what makes horse racing...

Julie Goes To Hollywood

I thought the reason she fell in love with him was because she had his baby inside her. She was the kind of girl that meant something to, despite the inelegant was of its getting in there.

Chera Federle

I've yet to see the film, but I really like to see the box office numbers on this ... attribute it to Jude's style, KH's good looks, or Rogan's charm (yes, I said charm)... I'm guessing that I will determine a combination of all three ... and honestly, I like to see a ROM COM from a male perspective ... and I agree with whoever stated that women are more like men than we realize ... we are ... to some degree, we just stylize everything differently ... more when I see the flick ... hopefully this weekend.

binnie

OHMYGOD I just got back from a movie blitz - I've been so busy that I haven't gone to a movie theatre in like, months, so today I attended the Billy Mernit Film Festival. First I saw "Once" and was so blown away by it (and not one person left during the credits, by the way), then walked uptown a few blocks and saw "Knocked Up". Loved it, that IS how people talk, and I believed that Ms. Heigl's character could absolutely fall in love with Seth Rogen. He's funny, he can put a sentence together, and as I can attest, a marginally cute guy can become WAY cuter as a relationship progresses. After having viewed "Music and Lyrics" last week - only worth seeing for the hilarious opening "video" - and wanting to puke, what a relief that these 2 movies didn't ruin my one day off. Thank you!
By the way, having nothing to do with the above, I highly recommend a writer I found out about through NPR, Nathan Englander. I'm currently reading his "For The Relief of Unbearable Urges". Worth it just for the title! Gorgeous writing.

binnie

And oh! I was also tickled by the fact that on the wall of The Guy's bedroom in "Once" is a framed LP of Leonard Cohen's "Songs From A Room"...

mernitman

Julie: I hear that.

Chera we await your review.

Binnie: We aim to please! Glen H. was demonstrating the GMTA (Great Minds...) principle.

davidwag

*mild spoilers*
I didn't like the married couple subplot. I understand the need for it, but I thought it was handled in a clunky fashion. It seemed contrived to me that the wife needed the two stars to accompany her to search for her husband. The trip to Vegas was totally unnecessary (especially considering the over-two-hours running time). And then how everything was all patched up between them in the end, and that this was referenced only by an exchange between the two men, was too convenient. I did like this movie, but I think Virgin was better.

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