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Friday, June 08, 2007

More Knocked Up Knocking


Choice passage from Time magazine's Richard Corliss, comparing K.O to the good ole days of Hollywood:

The difference back then, kids, was the iron-clad code of behavior imposed on movie characters. No sexual union without marriage was condoned; no woman blithely chose to have a child out of wedlock; abortion (or, as it's delicately alluded to in Knocked Up, "shmuh-shmortion") was not considered, not even discussed. Considering all the strictures on what was allowed in movies, we marvel at the ingenuity of writers to confect situations that satisfied audiences then, and still delight us today, if only in their gleaming artificiality.

Apatow labors under none of those caveats. Marriage is an option, not a command, for couples living together; nearly 40% of all babies born in 2005 had unmarried mothers; more than a million legal abortions are performed each year in the U.S. So Apatow, like all modern comedy writers, has another challenge: how to create social and ethical barriers — the ones the old screenwriters relied on for their characters to hurdle — when few exist. His tactic: rebuild the old barriers. If those hobbling conventions worked for the old masters, they might be worth resuscitating.


Some women would terminate the pregnancy. Alison doesn't, because ... because then there would be no movie — at least, not the kind Apatow wants to make.(Suggestion for an edgier romantic comedy. Two unsuited people get together, girl gets pregnant, has abortion, then decides she likes the guy, and they set about raising a family of kids they really want.)

Having chosen to bring the baby to term, Alison now has to figure out whether she brings Ben into the equation. In such a dilemma, whom can she confide in? You might expect that such a personable sort would have a circle of women friends — what Apatow would call her pussy posse — but not Alison. All right, no girlfriends. But she's got an infotainment job in L.A.; the place must be swarming with gay men, ready to offer their sympathy or tart wisdom. In show business, isn't there a Will for every Grace? No again; Alison is effectively friendless. In the old movies, the heroine was often isolated by convention or prejudice. Here, Apatow strands Alison is in order to make the unthinkable Ben an attractive, indeed the only, choice.

1 comment:

  1. no_slappz7:00 PM

    Let it be recognized that middle-class white women DO NOT bear illegitimate children. It is still taboo.

    That's not to say it doesn't happen. I happen to be one of those very children. But there is no doubt that middle-class America disapproves of single-motherhood.