review by Jon
Alison Scott goes out on the town to celebrate her new job.
She was just selected to be an on-camera personality for the
E! Channel. Ben Stone is celebrating… well…he’s
celebrating whatever day it happens to be. It’s not like
he has a real job to go to. He spends his days slowly working
on a website he and his friends hope will become an internet
sensation. When these two meet at a bar, an unlikely pair get
wrapped up in the moment (or whatever you might call it) and
spend an eventful night together. Several weeks later, and
the two find themselves linked for life, whether they like
it or not. You see, Alison is going to have Ben’s baby.
Won’t that be fun? Can they make a relationship work
now that sobriety has kicked in?
Forget that. Will it make you laugh? That’s the real
question. And the real answer is: Yes! Writer/director Judd
Apatow didn’t just knock this one up; he knocked it out
of the park. Excuse the puns -- I’m a film critic, it’s
sorta required sometimes. Judd shows that he’s put his “Celtic
Pride” days behind him for good by coming at us with
another amazing comedy that could just end up becoming a classic.
It’s that good. If you liked “The
40 Year Old Virgin,” then
you’re guaranteed to like this one at least equally well.
I think it’s slightly stronger, if only because the love
story doesn’t detract from the humor this time around.
What it has in common is an unusually great supporting cast.
Each and every speaking role (aside from the cameos) is filled
with people who know how to deliver a line well. You’ll
find several alumni of Apatow’s breakout show “Freaks
and Geeks,” including lead Seth Rogen (as Ben). Rogen
fits perfectly as the lovable loser. He has just enough charm
and displays just enough crass behavior to make the whole thing
believable. Katherine Heigl is essentially there just to play
the straight man and provide eye candy as the seemingly unattainable
Alison. Both jobs are serviceably accomplished. The interplay
between the two is fun to watch, but watch out when Paul Rudd
comes on the scene. Getting Rudd and Rogen together creates
some great moments (just like in “40”) that will
keep you rolling.
What makes Apatow’s movies so good, and what’s
quickly earning him a spot up with the masters (if he can crank
out one more on this level that is), is the ability to make
it all seem so natural and real. He lets his cast improv somewhat
to keep the delivery natural and conversational. He understands
how crucial a good give and take is. He’s able to capture
a group of people being as funny as you think you are with
your friends (trust me, you’re not funny). And most importantly,
he’s able to progress the story without sacrificing humor.
I doubt we’ll see a better comedy this year.
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