Going into Knocked Up I had high expectations because the film included many of the same actors from The 40 Year Old Virgin including Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann. Also from Virgin is director Judd Apatow. I had low expectations because it wasn’t The 40 Year Old Virgin and, of course, the always hilarious Steve Carell was not in the film. Knocked Up almost lived up to my expectations but just fell short of achieving that goal.
Knocked Up stars Seth Rogen as pot-smoking, unemployed Ben Stone. Ben lives with a few of his buddies (many from the popular, short-lived show “Undeclared”) where they are working on a website that tells readers what movies show nude celebrities. Alison Scott, played by Katherine Heigl, is an up-and-coming television anchor for E! News who lives with her sister, her husband, and their two daughters. When Alison gets a promotion she goes to a nightclub with her sister (Leslie Mann) to celebrate. At the same time, Ben is partying at the club with his buddies. Ben introduces himself to Alison, one thing leads to another, and the two end up sleeping together.
A few weeks pass and Alison realizes she is pregnant. To make a long story short, Alison and Ben learn they need to deal with the hardships of having an unplanned baby with a stranger they had a one night stand with. Also thrown into the mix are the relationship problems between Alison’s sister and her husband (Paul Rudd).
Knocked Up certainly had its laugh out loud moments but it was hard for me to fully enjoy the film for two main reasons. The first reason being that I found it extremely difficult to watch the movie without constantly comparing it to The 40 Year Old Virgin. Virgin was so different and so freakin’ hilarious that it was hard for Knocked Up to have a fair chance at standing on its own.
The second reason it was hard for me to fully ‘respect’ the hilarity and creativity of the film was because of the constant, unnecessary use of that four letter “F” word. I felt dirty just watching it because of the ridiculous overuse of the most vulgar language in the English dictionary. I give Knocked Up a C+.
Knowing is about a father and son who happen to come in possession of a letter that had been sealed underground in a time capsule for fifty years. The letter contains nothing but hundreds upon hundred of seemingly random numbers. The father, played by Nicolas Cage, realizes that the numbers are actually dates of every major disaster over the last fifty years…and three have not even occurred yet. Nic Cage makes it his mission to uncover the truth behind the mysterious future-telling letter. However, unbeknownst to Cage, he is about to unearth more than he ever expected.
Well done, Nic Cage. I knew you had it in you to reclaim your cool status after such terrible outings as Ghost Rider, Next, and Bangkok Dangerous. First of all, the effects were absolutely mind-blowing. After watching the plane crash that was shown in the trailer, I instantly wanted to rewind it and watch it another hundred times. Later in the movie, another disaster takes place and I literally felt like I was on a ride. The vibrations created by the theater speakers were so strong I could feel my heartbeat getting faster. If you have no other reason to see this movie, at least see it for the effects (and I suggest seeing it in a good theater because this will make all the difference).
Secondly, Nic Cage’s acting was as good as I have ever seen it. In fact, I think this may be the first time audiences have ever truly seen him cry on screen. It is almost as if he did all those other terrible films because he was saving up his performance ability, as if he were taking the time to regenerate his acting power. Let me say, it was worth it. However, the casting director could have definitely done a better job of finding a decent child to play Cage’s son. The actor portraying his son, Chandler Canderbury, was the only major fault I could find in this movie.
Finally, the strongest aspect of Knowing was the story. The screenwriters for this film (Ryne Douglas Pearson and Juliet Snowden) are truly masters of their craft. Knowing begins with this small piece of paper with a bunch of numbers on it and expands to reveal a premise so much more creative and fresh than anything I have seen out of Hollywood in the past couple years. I certainly do not want to ruin anything for anyone who has not yet see the movie, but I will say this one thing: The ending left me blown away. There was so much symbolism and inspiration in it that I am sure it will have me thinking about it for weeks to come. For the first time in 2009 I am giving a movie a perfect score. I give Knowing a solid A.