Following up The 40 Year Old Virgin, writer/director Judd Apatow looks at a different side of sex: the after-effects. Katherine Heigl boosts her career as the inadvertently pregnant unlikely girlfriend to hilariously funny Seth Rogen. Like Apatow’s previous directorial effort, Knocked Up has a gentler side to go along with some gross-out, stoner comedy that helps raise it above generic romantic comedy status.
Aside from its more conventional turns, Apatow draws most of his comedy from the witty dialogue that’s deeper than it may appear at first glance. For its barrage of sex jokes, pop culture barbs, and incredible amount of pot, there is an intelligent movie here. It’s one that’s enormously entertaining and funny, too.
When Knocked Up isn’t trying to be funny, the serious side comes together. Tender, touching moments will appeal to the chick flick crowd while still offering enough for the non-chick flick crowd to get into. The movie stalls for a while as the relationship breaks down and they go their separate ways. Comedy takes an overly long backseat, and if you don’t buy that these two people could be together (it’s never made out to be likely) you could be in for a long haul.
Past that half hour comedic rut (which isn’t a complaint but a refreshing change of pace), Knocked Up comes back full force for the finale. Heigl is hysterically funny as she gives birth, though it could be a case of it’s funny because it’s true. Rogen’s friends, including Superbad’s rising star Jonah Hill, add another layer of character to lighten the mood when things don’t go as planned.
Knocked Up may not have a laughs-per-minute ratio compared to 40 Year Old Virgin or Superbad (the latter of which Apatow produced), a stronger focus on mild drama and character make this memorable for different yet equally commendable reasons. This is a must-have comedy.
Knocked Up comes to HD DVD with a soft transfer that lacks a layer of sharpness the format is known for. Details are lessened, and a minor grain is prevalent throughout. Color is brilliant, and the black levels rich. It’s a definite step up over the standard DVD, though the gap isn’t as wide as it should be.
Being dialogue-driven, the film only has a few chances to show off its audio force. The music during club sequences is powerful, while any surround speaker use is drowned out to the point of being inaudible. There’s little else to judge here.
A large roster of 14 deleted scenes begins a decent set of extras, and runs for 19 minutes. A minor alternate ending is included in the bunch. Four extended scenes follow this. Line-o-rama is a montage of improv lines from certain scenes that is sadly short at three minutes.
Gag reels are always worth watching, and Knocked Up provides one three and a half minutes long. Roller Coaster Doc is a five minute look at Jay Baruchel’s fear of roller coasters and how the crew coerced him onto one for a single take. Directing the Director is a satirical look at a co-director who was brought in to calm Apatow’s ego (or not), and a live performance of a song from the soundtrack follows this.
A commentary includes Rogen, Apatow, and Bill Hader as they discuss the shoot. U-Control is again featured on this Universal disc, and not surprisingly, the features are only accessible as you watch the film via picture-in-picture. You’ll need to watch the movie twice and make sure you catch all prompts to see everything. Online features which are supposed to include downloadable trailers would not work after multiple tries.
Apatow considered making this a true follow up to the 40 Year Old Virgin by setting it in the same store, Smart Tech. Regardless, Steve Carell does have a small cameo at an awards show. It’s not the same character (he plays himself), but it’s a small nod to Apatow’s prior success.