Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Knocked Up is a Knock Out - Unless You're a Girly Girl Like Me...


As I mentioned, I came home from a very heady feminist conference this weekend in the mood for some slightly lighter fare. So on Sunday Marco and I went to see Knocked Up--the original plan was Spiderman 3, but Judd Apatow won out. Yesterday, my dear boy sent me the links to reviews in Salon and Slate. "Both positive, but Slate has gender issues."

So did I.

Let me say first that I enjoyed the movie, wholeheartedly. I laughed. And I cringed. Maybe it was my feminist hangover from the conference, but I pretty quickly got the sense that Knocked Up was a pregnancy movie for boys by boys. Which is great. I mean, we need those, and we need them badly. Men are parents too. It's about time we had some sensitive stories about what it's like for men to become fathers--when they're so-called ready and especially when they're not. I love that the Ben character (Seth Rogen) walks the three miles to the gyno's office even after Allison (Katherine Heigl) throws him out of the car, and that he eventually reads the pregnancy books. And Apatow's portrayal of male bonding throughout the movie was disgustingly sweet--by which I mean disgusting at times, according to this perhaps-too-easily-grossed-out girly girl reviewer, but I get it: genuine and sweet.

Still, I agree with Slate's Dana Stevens, who comments that, in this movie at least, Apatow doesn't get (or write) chicks as well as he writes (and gets) dudes. Knocked Up is eons from being misogynist. But the movie's two basic premises--that, boom! young rising professional Allison wants to keep the baby, recent-life-changing-promotion-notwithstanding, and that she's willing to take such a heartfelt second look at the guy who severely grossed her out the morning after--struck me as forced vocabulary. This is Guyland indeed: pregnant is "knocked up," abortion is referred to in euphemism ("rhymes with 'shmashmortion"), and (spoiler alert!!) the geek gets the prom queen. In other words, it's a fantasy about the sensitive slacker who, learns, through impending fatherhood, to grow up--and gets the girl. (The girl, to be fair, finds love where she least expects it. Fairy tale endings for all!) (Spoiler ends here.)

When the lights came up and my beloved dude turned to me and said, "I loved it!", I didn't want to be a spoilsport and offered up an enthusiastic, "Me too!" But truth be told, my love's qualified. Sure, I'm willing to suspend disbelief when the Grey's Anatomy hottie grew soft on a guy she couldn't even get through breakfast with, and even after he flunked the second date. But when the image of a crowning baby head elicited the same "eew!" as the scene where Ben's roomies transmit pink eye by farting on each other's pillows (don't ask), my grossdar got offended. Next time someone makes a movie about pregnancy for guys, maybe someone could throw us lingering feminist girly girls a little more than just a bone?

5 comments:

Veronica said...

I haven't seen it, but I know I will. My lust for Paul Rudd aside...Isn't it just horribly difficult to watch a movie without our feminist alarms going off? I try so hard to turn it off and enjoy a movie, but like you, after some time that 'guilt' creeps over me and I have to face the fact that if they had done this or that, well you get the picture. From 40yr Virgin to Ron Burgundy, we get just enough feminism to keep us smiling.

Marco Acevedo said...

OK, boyly-boy Marco here... I thinks it's fair to say I loved the movie with some of the same reservations... it's clearly a geek fantasy dressed as cautionary/coming-of-age fable, while managing to feel honest in its character interactions. But I resent the idea it's an every-guy movie. We don't all feel the need to bond by nesting together in our own refuse, or to be that crass in front of the ladies. The constant pop-culture-referencing, though, is pretty spot-on.

FeministReview said...

While I agree that the female anatomy (esp. when being used for procreation) should not be on par with fart jokes as a grossout gag, I think that some might be taking this a little too seriously. Your entry is a balanced review of this film (I viewed the film in much the same way), but the Slate review annoyed me. It's not necessarily Apatow's job as a director to address abortion as a viable choice for women. But he does. Katherine Heigl's character considers it and decides that she wants to keep the baby. She made a choice. And it was completely her's. That's something. Just because the character doesn't choose abortion doesn't mean that she's the product of a man's misinformed imagination. And I also think that Apatow shows that even though his male characters are completely clueless, they are harmless schlubs. While much of the guy bonding is comprised of misogynist endeavors (porn sites, sex mimicry, blow job jokes), it's not malicious. I am not saying it's right and I don't think Apatow is either. He's not claiming that he or any or his characters are in touch with the female psyche. At least they are trying.

Dewey said...

I find most Hollywood movies horrifically sexist, and I'm sure this would be no exception.

Daniela said...

Interesting post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll likely be coming back to your blog. Keep up great writing. Find your great Travel News and sing the songs at Free Song Lyric or you can watch the drama at Korea Drama Online one of great korea drama is A Love to Kill if you go to travel to Indonesia learn Learn Indonesia Language first! And find your home cari rumah or make a blog Belajar membuat Blog find your home again rumah dijual and again at jual rumah the point is cari rumah, jual rumah, rumah dijual, download youtube and find blog widget and then if you want buy a new laptop see the Laptop Price List or you can buy a New Blackberry and then take care your Health & Jewerly good job, very great article Cari Rumah, Jual Rumah, Rumah dijual Thanks ever so much Cari Rumah, Jual Rumah, Rumah dijual very useful article Cari Rumah, Jual Rumah, Rumah dijual Great information Cari Rumah, Jual Rumah, Rumah dijual I like your blog Cari Rumah, Jual Rumah, Rumah dijual I will be checking back for any new articles Cari Rumah, Jual Rumah, Rumah dijual just bookmarked it for later reference Cari Rumah, Jual Rumah, Rumah dijual, free scholarships, Wikilaw, eporchshop, free wallpapers, free gadgets. Thanks for kindly sharing it with us. Very well done indeed