Sam Strange Remembers: KNOCKED UP

Ladies, it's time to get realistic. Guys, it's time to fantasize.

These days, it's important to remind people how awesome dudes are and how much ladies suck. But sadly, these days you can't just come out and say it. These days, because dumb ladies and boys who are too much like ladies get their panties up in a bunch over pretty much everything you can only reassert the obvious gender delineation of coolness by making a film that illustrates it while safely averring the opposite. Thus, Knocked Up.

Knocked Up is about this totally awesome guy living a life of zero responsibility and fun. He smokes pot, lives off an old injury settlement, watches nudity-filled films, and hangs out with a bunch of equally lazy and unambitious dudes, none of whom threaten to rise above his self-imposed status. On top of all that, he looks like a fat Albert Brooks, and suffers from a speech impediment too subtle to actually call a lisp; I like to call it "overspit."

Meanwhile, there's this girl with a sour face who lives her life responsibly. She has a professional television job, pays her bills, wakes up early every morning, exercises, watches what she eats, and hasn't laughed at a joke since her first period.

One night the stars align and the guy meets up with the girl at a bar. There's a brief moment after they bump into each other when the girl could leave the bar, but instead chooses to stay because she kind of likes the guy. This is the most important moment in the film because it forces everyone in the audience to make a choice: entertain the fantasy and have a good time (like the guy) or get hung up on reality and be a dickhead (like the girl).

The guy and the girl have sex, and it makes a baby. In keeping with this film's depicted level of reality, I chose to occasionally cut to the lady's womb where we can hear the incubating infant's clever thoughts voiced by Bruce Willis. So in one scene where the guy can't have sex with the lady because he's worried about hurting the baby, we cut to a shot of his penis poking the womb while Bruce Willis says, "Hey, I'm walking here! I'm walking here!" That sort of thing.

Even though the lady is becoming a rising star at her network, and even though she has no interest in hanging out with the guy, and even though her sister and brother-in-law repeatedly illustrate how awful life with children is, the lady decides against having an abortion. Since she's going all the way, she figures she might as well invite the irresponsible fat-ass who knocked her up along for the ride.

At first he, along with the audience, just assumes that she wants him to be a part of the baby's life. But no, she actually wants them to be parents together in a romantic sense as well, though the two have no chemistry and she clearly despises him. She's driven not solely by the hormones and strange impulses that supposedly come with pregnancy but also by a script written by a nerd.

This brings us to the middle three hours of the film where we see the girl repeatedly try to like the guy, while he repeatedly blows it by being an idiot with no common sense at all who doesn't yet understand how mad women get when you're awesome around them. The guy introduces the girl to his worthless friends without a hint of shame about who he chooses to spend time with. He talks to her in the most creatively frank sexual manner possible as though she were an ex-porn star or something. He cluelessly invites her pregnant ass into a house filled with illegal drugs, swords, firecrackers, and pink-eye. All the while, she does her best to accept him for who he is.

This may seem like a bunch of bullshit to you, but it's not. The sad fact is, the noble masculinity of your grandfather is a thing of the past. The man-child is here to stay. Rather than try to change him, it's probably more productive at this point to make women learn to settle. Given Knocked Up's "date movie" potential, my ambition was to train women to lower their standards while reinforcing the average man-child's lifestyle decisions. These guys don't have a lot of self-confidence, you know. Besides, not knowing how to treat a lady like a lady is actually the most primal expression of feminism a guy can hope for.

They run into a lot of problems though because she's a bitch who, for whatever reason, can't just chill out and have a good time. Meanwhile, her sister and brother-in-law are having problems of their own. The sister is all bummed out about getting old. The brother-in-law is all bummed out about being alive. Just as with the main guy and girl, their relationship dynamic revolves around the brother-in-law being cool and funny while the sister yells at him and calls him mean names. As a result, the guy and the brother-in-law become friends who laugh and smile a lot together. The ladies try to fight back by having fun too, but they don't know how, and only manage to get in fights with Craig Robinson and cry a lot instead.

This comes to a head as the guy and the brother-in-law take a trip to Las Vegas where they do drugs and realize how lucky they are to have women who will put up with them. Unfortunately, this self realization gets replaced with pancakes once the drugs wear off, so this honest confrontation of male worthlessness is for the audience's benefit alone. When they return, the sister takes the brother-in-law back because that's just the kind of shit you have to put up with when you have kids with a man. But the girl hasn't had her kid yet, so she can still act mad toward the guy. He says a bunch of bad words and something about fisting her asshole and storms off.

Their experience does change him a little. He gets a job. He gets an apartment. He reads books about cancer baby books. Meanwhile, she's going to Lamaze classes and filling out insurance forms and a bunch of other stuff that actually matters, and she's doing it all by herself. If I've done my job right, half the audience is patting him on the back, and half the audience is patting her on the back, with both halves assuming 100% of the audience is congratulating the same person. Movie magic!

Eventually, the baby comes out, and it magically makes everyone love each other again, or for the first time, or whatever the hell is going on with this couple. The good thing about making a movie five hours long is no one has energy to imagine how horribly everything will likely turn out for these characters after the film ends.

I think I did a good job with Knocked Up. According to the latest census, supposedly a whole generation of children was conceived the weekend it came out and aborted the Tuesday it was released on DVD. That's quite an accomplishment.

(three stars)

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