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Knocked Up

DVD Four Stars
I had seen Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin and wasn't that enamoured. Although it achieved some great acclaim, I found it was filled with bodily function and sexual acts humour that just didn't appeal, base and not intelligence. However it sold and allowed Aptow the chance to make this film, Knocked Up, and I'm so glad it did.

Knocked Up has much more intelligence than Virgin, it looks into relationships and the harsh appearance of real life and how it can mess up, and bring together, people's lives.

Plot.pngKnockedUp.jpgThe film tells the story of a boy in the guise of a man who meets an up and coming female TV presenter, one has their live sorted and the other is just a complete mess, one is stunning, and the other is, well, just the average bloke.

One night they meet up in a club and after plenty of drinks and terrible dancing they indulge in some uninhibited, and unprotected, sex, the result of which is a pregnancy and a baby.

They decide to try and get to know each other better, perhaps to stay together, and give their relationship a go for the sake of the child.

TheFilm.png133 minutes (Extended Cut)
The film explores their growing relationship together, how their friends deal with the changes in their life, and how they in turn change as a result. At times it reveals the bare bones of male-female relationships, and at others it pokes light hearted fun at the whole situation, but throughout there's a great feeling of weight and realism, and the humour never descends into the baseness of Virgin, but remains checked in the reality of the situation.

I really liked the fact that this film does look more to the serious side of the issues rather than just going straight for the all too obvious sexual and pregnancy based jokes. There's intelligence here and it's clear that Judd Apatow has learned restraint, subtlety and can deliver something much more adult.

The humour he does find in this story is very well crafted, yes there are some juvenile moments, but these are outweighed by the insightful and observational side of the script.

Along with The 40 Year Old Virgin come Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, all of whom do much more acting in this film, and with their script giving them more real life and intelligent characters, what they bring to the screen is far more believable and accessible.

You see the thing I didn't really like about 40 Year Old Virgin was that it was a series of set-ups for increasingly vulgar and distasteful jokes, with nothing much else going for it, and jokes comprising of bodily functions, sexual acts, racism, sexism, and so on. Pretty much the basest humour that western cinema continues to churn out.

There were some flashes of intelligent humour and clever scripting, but they were all to far apart. In Knocked Up this has been reversed and the base humour is pushed to the back with the script pulled to the fore, and this really makes for a more engaging and humorous film.

Knocked Up on DVD comes in a variety of flavours, there's a widescreen single disc version of the theatrical cut, an unrated single disc version which adds a few minutes more to the film and is in both widescreen and fullscreen options, there's the version that I watched for this review, the superior two disc Collector's Edition which also goes by the name of Extended & Unrated. The two disc version has the unrated film on the first disc with a few additional extras, but the real bonus is the extra filled second disc which is packed full with content. Finally there's a DVD and HD-DVD dual packaged release which has some exclusive picture-in-picture content and provides everything that the unrated single disc version does.

So, this review was based on the standard two disc DVD Collector's Edition, and it contained a whole bunch of extras.

Picture.png1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
The picture looks sharp, detailed and very natural throughout the film, and the best thing about a strong picture is that it blends in with the overall film and brings it to life, something that happens perfectly with this film and transfer.

Audio.pngDolby Digital 5.1
There's nothing really here to take advantage of a multi-speaker set-up in the film, there are a few moments that the rear speakers bring something to the atmosphere, but these moments are few and far between, after all the film is about the dialogue and the characters, there's no real need for them.

Extras.pngAudio Commentary with Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen and Bill Hader, Deleted Scenes, Extended Scenes, Directing the Director, Line-O-Rama, Topless Scene - Web Design Company, Loudon Wainwright, III - Live At McCabe's, Kids On The Loose, Beard-O-Rama, Kuni Files, Gummy - The 6th Roommate, Stripper Confidential, Finding Ben Stone, Kuni Gone Wild, Loudon Wainwright III Scoring Session, First Sex On Camera, Line-O-Rama 1 & 2, Gag Reels, Katherine Heigl Audition

Audio Commentary
The commentary seems rather light on talent and I really wished that we could have heard from Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd and Katherine Heigl, however we do get the writer/director, one of the leads, and Bill Hader, who is really there to give us a comedy break with his superb impressions.

There are some interesting moments in amongst the lively language, and we hear about how choices were made in removing, reworking and returning scenes to the film, and how many parts of the script were inspired from real events. It's a pretty interesting and enjoyable commentary which doesn't really follow your standard commentary, and in many ways that's refreshing.

Loudon Wainwright, III - Live At McCabe's, Loudon Wainwright III Scoring Session
Both these sections are enjoyable and entertaining, the live performance as well as the scoring session. They both show the other end of the extras, the more film engaged rather than those more focused on the comedy and the behind the scenes friendships.

Deleted and Extended Scenes
There's a bunch of deleted scenes, almost an hour and twenty minutes worth counting those through both discs. These provide a few good laughs, some are really superfluous, and a couple, particularly the monologue on Brokeback Mountain, are rather over the top, all in all you can see why they were deleted even if they are enjoyable to watch as extras. There's plenty to work through and it'll give you a few extra laughs too.

Stripper Confidential
This is rather amusing, although rather short for my liking, and it's not because there are famous pornstars as strippers, no it's because of the awkwardness of Rogen and Rudd. It would have been great to have seen more of them trying to get themselves relaxed and give a performance.

Katherine Heigl Audition
What's interesting about this scene is how natural both actors seem to be with each other right from the first audition. Katherine Heigl is a natural and leaps into the character.

Gag Reels
Now these weren't as hilarious as I thought they would be coming from a film where improvisation and attempting different takes was so rife. However there are some very funny moments, and the rest provide some good giggles.

Line-O-Rama 1 & 2
It's for the very reason that scenes were allowed to be improvised and these multiple takes were attempted that we get these two features. They are different takes and deleted lines from the film which can be funny or just provide you with an idea of a different way a scene could have gone.

Roller-coaster Documentary (and DVD menus)
Something has to be said about the menus on the two discs. A few of them use footage from the roller-coaster documentary, where the stars were taken out and put through a whole day of roller-coaster rides and filmed throughout. Seeing the aftermath is funny in this short feature, but watching their reactions on the one ride that plays out behind one of the disc's menus is superb. I laughed more there than I did with quite a few of these extras.

Directing the Director
For me this fell flat on it's face. These are a series of set-ups where it is made out that someone has been sent from the studio to try and control Apatow and keep him in check. Each scene is played complete deadpan and for me totally missed the mark. It felt more like I was sitting there wondering when the joke would break, or if they were indeed trying for a joke in the first place.

Kids On The Loose, Beard-O-Rama, Kuni Files, Gummy - The 6th Roommate, Finding Ben Stone, Kuni Gone Wild, First Sex On Camera, Topless Scene - Web Design Company
There are a bunch of other extras that offer short insights into behind the scenes and the actors involved, but none of them are really that funny or engaging. Some of them may offer a laugh or two, but the overall quality isn't that great.

A lot of the time, like the First Sex on Camera scene, I felt it could have gone further and either given us more insight from the actors or gone funnier, instead it feels we're standing a little off and are getting some glimpses, but never the full story.

Overall.pngThe film is very strong and marks such a huge step up from 40 Year Old Virgin. Here there's depth, story and realistic characterisation, and still the same dirty and off-beat humour from Apatow and his team that some people are such fans off.

Katherine Heigel and Rogen are superb together and Heigel seems to take to the comedy so easily, her timing is very good and with both Rogen and Rudd reigned in a little (perhaps Apatow as well) we get a much more adult and intelligent comedy with deeply insightful and hard hitting moments.

I really liked the story and I really became involved with the characters, and that's something that I'm glad that has come out of the Apatow camp. Looking to his future films there's a real mix of the straight up sex/bodily function humour, and this more intelligent, very observational comedy.

The double disc DVD offering I saw here is a strong one with so many extras you would not believe. In total there's well over an hours worth of deleted and extended scenes to watch, not all of them great, but watching them you see how the film was edited down to a much richer story.

The film itself isn't exactly that unrated and expanded, there are only a few more minutes added in and I can't really say it makes for a better or worse viewing experience than the film.

The extras are really a viewing unto themselves, and you'll feel like it by the end of it. Although I thought some of them were off the mark and superfluous, the majority added funny and insightful moments to the film.

If you're a fan of Apatow, Rogen, Rudd and this type of comedy then you'll love this double DVD set, and if you're a fan of Heigel and like your comedy a little richer with a stronger focus on story and characters, you'll find equal measure of enjoyment here too.

UK IMDB Film Details




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