Knocked Up


In an earlier draft of this post, I mused about how YouTube would have made writing the Trailer Trash easier since I wouldn’t have had to deal with the capricious Quicktime movie player, and it also would have been a cinch to simply embed the video into the the review. I was provoked into thinking about this by the trailer for Knocked Up, which I said everyone should see, although I wasn’t going to give it the whole TTT treatment. But then I left the house, and I kept thinking about how I wanted everyone to see Knocked Up. So I thought maybe it deserved the whole TTT treatment after all. There have been some faint musings about reviving the Trailer Trash, and although it’s not a sure thing that it’s going to be back, what better trailer to jump back in the trailer-reviewing game with?

Back when I was in publishing school, I used to have a buddy named Mike, with whom I had perhaps the purest comedic chemistry I’ve ever had with anyone. When we interned at the same magazine together, the editor-in-chief marveled over the way we essentially interacted as a comedic duo, like Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello. Now, being a little, high-strung guy, I’ve had a number of friends who fit neatly in that big, good-natured lummox comic foil role. But more than anyone else I’ve met, he embodied the old vaudeville maxim about how some people say funny things, and others say things funny. Mike didn’t need me; anything he said came out funny.

Seth Rogen also says things funny. Although his deadpan wit is his stock in trade, what conclusively proved to me that he says things funny was an episode of the tragically short-lived Undeclared in which he gave a frustrated, sputtering, and unaccountably hilarious line reading to the simple piece of dialogue, “You’re a stupid idiot.” Seth Rogen is, quite simply, one of the funniest people walking the Earth. Seth Rogen is the archetype for all those big, hilarious lummoxes. You’ve probably had a buddy like that. Seth Rogen is like your TV buddy.

Or rather, Seth Rogen is now your movie buddy. Of course, he doesn’t need your friendship now. He has a bunch of other buddies. There’s Sascha Baron Cohen, on whose Da Ali G Show Rogen was a writer. And, of course, he’s increasingly regarded as a pledge to the Frat Pack, having appeared in movies such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and You, Me and Dupree, and having written the screenplay for Owen Wilson’s upcoming Drillbit Taylor. And another very important friend is Judd Apatow, who first cast him in Freaks and Geeks (where he first realized Rogen is one of the funniest people walking the Earth), then worked with him again in Undeclared (where he took advantage of Rogen’s being one of the funniest people walking the Earth by making him a staff writer along with his role as an actor), and then cast him in his 2005 feature-film directorial debut The 40-Year-Old Virgin (taking advantage of Rogen’s being one of the funniest people walking the Earth in order to make one of the funniest film comedies ever to walk or be otherwise distributed across the Earth).

Now Apatow has taken the logical next step and given Seth Rogen his own movie, Knocked Up, the premise of which is that he has a drunken one-night stand with Katherine Heigl, with results you may be able to guess from the title. We always hear about surveys in which women say the number one quality they look for in a mate is a sense of humour, and Rogen’s funny and likable enough to make it actually plausible that a big doofus like him could land a gorgeous creature like Katherine Heigl, on whom I’ve had a crush since Roswell. This charm is decidedly not in evidence throughout this trailer, which consists of a single scene in which Heigl informs Rogen of the gestating problem resulting from their rendezvous over dinner in a fancy restaurant on their second date, only to be met with a flabbergasted and profane response. (Rogen drops three F-bombs and the word “vagina” in this trailer, which I can only assume is not the version meant for theatrical release.) And that’s essentially it for this trailer: It’s Rogen freaking out in a Rogenesque way.

So let’s talk about what’s not in the trailer that will be in this movie. (I know, this is kind of cheating. This is a trailer review after all. But it’s worth mentioning, it takes up valuable space, and I promise it won’t factor into the final analysis.) For one thing, there’s Paul Rudd, Rogen’s fellow pledge to the Frat Pack and one of the few men alive who can pull off the feat of simultaneously being very handsome and very funny. Rogen and Rudd were responsible for the memorable “You know how I know you’re gay?” scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and you can probably expect more of that chemistry here. Also appearing is The Office’s B.J. Novak (who is, like Rogen, a writer/actor on one of the best TV comedies of its era) and Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig (who, like Heigl, has an oddly spelled surname, but also merits mention for making SNL much more watchable, particularly as the hilarious and strangely sexy female half of the recurring “Two A-Holes” characters). Also look for fellow Apatow alumni Jay Baruchel and Jason Segel, as well as adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who’s known from such films as The Witches of Breastwick, Ron Jeremy on the Loose: Atlantic City, and, of course, the aforementioned The 40-Year-Old Virgin, in which she appeared in a fantasy sequence as well as a DVD extra feature in which she goes to dinner with Rogen and reveals a tattoo of his face on her breast. Daniels also will appear in the upcoming Super Bad, an Apatow-produced and Rogen-penned feature starring Arrested Development’s Michael Cera, (who, thanks to this project as well as close ties to Frat Pack pledge Jason Bateman — and well as his own preternaturally dead-on comic timing — is suddenly poised to become the first third-generation Frat Pack member). It’s intriguing that Daniels apparently become part of Apatow’s repertory company, and you’d wonder what Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann, thinks of this. Maybe this is why Mann makes sure she appears in all Apatow films, including this one: just to keep things on the up and up. Also count on cameos from Steve Carell, Owen Wilson, and Ryan Seacrest. (That last one may not be a selling point.)

I’ve previously established a rule establishing four out of five Billy Crystals as the maximum possible rating for a romantic comedy, owing to the predictability of the genre. You basically know what’s going to happen here: A drunken hookup results in an unexpected pregnancy, and the couple will struggle to deal with it only to eventually come to realize they love each other and live happily ever after. But this trailer has two things in it that justify giving it the full four Billy Crystals: The presence of Seth Rogen and the words “From the makers of the 40-Year-Old Virgin”. Or, calculated another way, it has three F-bombs plus the word “vagina”. Either way, the math adds up to four Billy Crystals.

Knocked Up may fly under the radar thanks to its relatively unknown leads. Hell, it might flop horribly. Who’s Seth Rogen, after all? Can he really put asses in seats? Besides his own, of course, and can he really get even that out once he’s wedged it in there? To that, I say: Be cool. The dude’s a big guy, but not that big. And this movie’s got the potential to be the most hilarious comedy of 2007. Besides, as I said, Rogen’s like your big lummox of a buddy. If your buddy made a movie, you’d go see it, wouldn’t you? You’d be a pretty shitty friend not to.* Are you a shitty friend? Of course not. I know one thing: I’ll be first in line to see it. Maybe there won’t even be a line. Maybe it’ll just be a dot. But I’ll be that dot.

Rating: Three F-bombs and a vagina

* I have not, as of this writing, actually seen Alone in the Dark, which was co-written by old pal and fellow Trailer Trash alumnus Elan Mastai. But I have three points in my defence: First, that’s what he gets for naming various characters in that movie after other acquaintances — including Jay Pinkerton — but not after me. Second, Alone in the Dark is apparently one of the most awful films ever made. And third, I actually am a shitty friend. (That last point may not really be in my defence, come to think of it.)

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