Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Movie Reviews: Knocked Up and Fantastic 4 II

Amy and I rented these over the weekend. The second Fantastic Four movie was comic book eye candy. People stretch, catch on fire, and warp the fabric of reality. Good stuff, but not a lot of character development or a real strong plot. If you liked the first Fantastic Four movie, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one as well. Its very comic book in both good and bad ways. I'm sure Stan Lee would be proud even if Sue and Reed didn't let him into their wedding.

Knocked Up was quite good. I was pleasantly surprised really, because I didn't expect to like a movie built on the premise of illegitimate pregnancy. Illegitimacy is probably the greatest unaddressed problem of our times and I don't find it especially funny. However, the film actually uses the crude comedy to lighten a film dealing with weightier issues like personal responsibility and accountability.

Alison is a nice girl who lives with her sister and brother-in-law in LA. Alison is a promoted to on-air talent at E! and goes clubbing to celebrate. She meets affable stoner Ben who came to party with his drug-addled housemates. The two get very drunk and have a one night stand. 8 weeks later, Alison finds out she is pregnant and discovers that Ben isn't just socially awkward, he's also a penniless illegal Canadian immigrant whose job aspiration is starting an internet porn venture with his buddies. Not father material, but she decides to keep the baby anyway.

The plot thickens. Alison's sister's marriage hits a rocky patch that forebodes poorly for Alison's future with Ben. Meanwhile Ben's attempts to be a responsible father conflicts with his irresponsible lifestyle. Will Ben clean up his act? Can he? Is Alison capable of being a single mother? Should the two of them even end up together?

The movie's comedy is earthy, but with a halo of truth because raising children is a messy business. The jokes are like ones I've heard friends and family tell about having their own kids. More striking to me was the thematic importance of honesty, responsibility, and commitment in the film. But keep in mind the movie is R-rated and it deserves it, so you can find plenty to dislike if that sort of thing really bothers you.

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