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For hilarity's sake

‘Knocked Up’ redefines the romantic comedy.


'KNOCKED UP': A slacker-stoner deals with impregnating a girl after a one-night stand.
  • 'KNOCKED UP': A slacker-stoner deals with impregnating a girl after a one-night stand.

A comedy based on the aftermath of a one-night stand seems more like the premise of an episode of “Sex and the City” than fodder for a feature film. However, with the release of his new film “Knocked Up,” writer/director Judd Apatow may have stretched the definition of romantic comedy even further than with his previous hit, 2005’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl), an up-and-coming entertainment reporter at E! News, goes out for a night on the town with her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann). In the course of their girls’ night out, Alison falls under the ogling gaze of immature, pot-smoking Ben Stone (Seth Rogen), who, along with his buddies, spends most of his day creating an Internet database of nude celebrity film appearances. A few too many drinks later, Alison and Ben wind up in bed together. Unfortunately for Alison, she lives with her sister, her sister’s husband, Pete (Paul Rudd), and their two children, which — as you can probably guess — is cause for many awkward moments.

Following her late night rendezvous with Ben, Alison is embarrassed by her encounter and wants absolutely nothing to do with the slacker. But after a few episodes of vomiting on the job, she finds out that her one-night stand has left her expecting — potentially putting her promising career in jeopardy. Determined to keep the baby and wanting Ben to be a part of the child’s life, she takes it upon herself to learn to like him. What ensues is something more than what they bargained for, but — perhaps in the end — worth it.

“Knocked Up ” has many awkward moments, as when a visibly pregnant Alison and Ben have sex — or at least try to (Ben is far too concerned about how his actions will affect the baby for anything approaching a pleasurable experience). This, among his deeds to follow, highlights how Ben grows as he is forced to take responsibility as a father.

Many of the scenes in the movie are reminiscent of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” not just because Apatow uses many of the same actors but because of the humor, which caters to young males and is obsessed with sex and marijuana. Many of the movie’s most hilarious scenes don’t even revolve around the relationship between Ben and Alison. For example, when a third-trimester Alison and her sister once again go clubbing, this time they’re not allowed in because of their night-club infirmities of being old and/or pregnant. The shouting match that follows between Debbie and the bouncer is unforgettable, and hands down the funniest scene in the entire film.

A movie like this wouldn’t be anywhere near as funny if the two central characters weren’t a complete mismatch. This is a must-see for fans of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” or anyone who cares to see the typical randy adult-male comedy movie blossom into something more meaningful and yet still maintain its beyond-the-pale humor.

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