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"Knocked Up"

Directed by Judd Apatow.
Written by Judd Apatow.
Starring Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  6/14/07


Using the same genius "random obscenity" approach that worked to such glorious success with "The 40-Year Old Virgin", Judd Apatow has once again struck gold with "Knocked Out" thanks to another mainly no-name cast paired with hilarious bit characters.

What makes "Knocked Up" work better than anything else is maybe the most violently profane pregnancy comedy ever made; as a scriptwriter, Apatow's flow sometimes doesn't make any sense...which is EXACTLY why the film works.  Seth Rogen stars as Ben, a 23-year-old Canadian living in LA with four other guys while trying to start up a website that profiles when female stars get naked onscreen.  One night, he decides to roll out with the boys to a local club, where E! television coordinator Alison (Katherine Heigl) is out celebrating with her sister (Leslie Mann) because Alison has just been promoted from behind-the-scenes talent to on-camera talent...which is SO COOL!  Ben and Alison meet, have a couple of shots, have some unprotected sex, and BAM--eight weeks later, Alison's got morning sickness, Ben's baby and a world of complication to carry around, so rather than completely bastardize the situation, she reaches out to Ben, and the two begin an unlikely relationship that takes them all the way to the due date.

As funny as the main plotline is, the film is rounded out so beautifully by the side characters; Mann is great as Alison's sister, as is Paul Rudd (who was also in "Virgin") as the sister's husband.  Ben's four roommates are all stellar; the best of the bunch for me was clearly Jonah Hill, who is starring in Apatow's upcoming high school comedy "Superbad"...he has maybe (MAYBE) my favorite line of the movie:

"FUCK!  My shit looked like a fucking stuffed animal!!!"

This line is representative of so much about why I loved this movie; characters will randomly spout off much unneeded cursing throughout the film's 130-minute running time, and you don't even know why someone would say something that way, but bingo, there they go again...if you haven't seen this, I know this might seem vague, but if you HAVE seen "Knocked Up" you know exactly what the fuck I'm fucking talking about.  (Muthafucka.)  That, plus randomly insightful sex and drug talk (couldn't you see other guys high-fiving when Ben is trying to explain to Alison that it's not that doggie style is bad, it's just a STYLE, man, it's not meant to be offensive), and you have just great quotables throughout this movie.

Apatow gets to preach a little bit about safe sex (unless you like knocking up random women at clubs) without sounding preachy; he gets away with the main storyline while giving us an ending that is slightly predictable, but not in a bad way.  Heigl and Rogen really do make a team that doesn't make sense on paper but believably get to that nice comfort level with time and a little humor, not smoke and mirrors.  The right people in each main character's life seem genuinely disapproving of the behavior, so at least that portion is not played for laughs, either.  Even the use of cameos is great here; the Seacrest bit was great thanks to him just cursing for 60 seconds with no discernible purpose.

"Knocked Up" was great; just a tad below "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" in my book because the side characters were just a little better, but otherwise, great stuff.  I might even pay to see this one again.

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09