In the 6th grade I grabbed the opening tip-off in a little-league basketball game. I ran – dribbling like a champ – down the court and made a picture perfect lay-up. My exhilarated satisfaction came to a record-scratching halt as I turned, expecting to see joy and approval on the faces of my teammates, to find I was instead confronted with looks of seething disgust and ghastly disbelief. I had scored the game’s first points for the other team.
Twenty odd years later I still bear the deep psychological scars of said incident and as a result rarely engage in organized sports. Writer/Director Judd Apatow, at his best, has given us a mirror into the brutality of real life moments like that one with irreverent humor and exceptional humanity. He did it brilliantly with “Freaks and Geeks,” which may still be television’s all-time most underrated show and he does it again with the pregnancy comedy “Knocked Up”
Apatow hasn’t always hit the mark, but when he gets it right, it’s absolute genius. “Knocked Up” is ridiculously good. I’m hard pressed to remember a film that was this solid from beginning to end with “the funny.” From the realism of the story to the engaging characters and even its over-the-top-gags, “Knocked Up” works because it has a script foundation that allows Apatow to take chances without losing the center.
“Knocked Up” is as edgy as “There’s Something About Mary,” but with more soul. As frank and natural as “High Fidelity,” the film is wonderfully clever and unexpected in a way that challenges the best comedies of the last decade to a duel they simply aren’t prepared to win.
I can’t say enough about everyman Seth Rogan. He is an unlikely star, who comes off as if in person he just might be the best drinking buddy ever. The whole cast of “Knocked Up” are unstoppable. Katherine Heigl, of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame, picked the perfect role to catapult her out of a supporting TV role and into the big leagues.
Apatow movie regulars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are the typical married friends from your average unexpected-pregnancy-leads-to-a-journey-to-manhood-and-responsibility-movie, but with a twist. They are interesting, fresh characters whose side story actually adds something to an already-rich script.
“Knocked Up” is my first “Rock Fist Way Up” of the year and I can’t wait for people to see this movie. Just as “Freaks and Geeks” made me feel less alone in my nostalgic despair, “Knocked Up” is the best comedy experience of the year and reminds us all to look at moments of catastrophic confusion with a fistful of irony and a willingness to laugh through the breakdown.