Author Topic: Knocked Up... the longest pro-life propaganda movie ever.  (Read 1899 times)


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Knocked Up... the longest pro-life propaganda movie ever.
« on: September 15, 2007, 03:36:47 PM »
Nappily ever after
by Libby Brooks

The reviewers are praising Knocked Up to the skies, but isn't it the longest pro-life propaganda movie ever to make it into the mainstream?

Alison, a beautiful, successful, career-focused young woman - who is neither staunchly religious nor suffering from what has quaintly been coined "baby-hunger" - gets pregnant after a druken one-night stand with Ben, an overweight, porn-obsessed, work-shy stoner who is manifestly several leagues below her in the mating tables. In what alternate universe does she not give an abortion proper consideration? In the alternate universe that is Hollywood and, more specifically, in Knocked Up, hailed by the Guardian's film critic Peter Bradshaw as "the best film of the summer" and by me as the longest pro-life propaganda movie ever to make it into the mainstream.

Knocked Up is the latest example of a recurring theme in romantic comedies over the past few years - identified by the New Yorker's David Denby as the "slacker-striver romance". From the Stephen Frears 2000 adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel High Fidelity, to last year's man-child valorisation Failure to Launch, via Owen Wilson's entire oeuvre, the template is pretty much the same. She is even-tempered, attractive, super-serious but ultimately bland - unless she's responding shrilly to her partner's perceived fecklessness. He is funny, laid-back, perhaps nursing a nerdy obsession with alphabetised albums or baseball scores, and any inability on his part to deal with the basics of adult existence is recast as charming and/or a heroic rejection of the constraints of conformity.

And so it is that director and writer Judd Apatow adds an unplanned pregnancy to this heady mix of equal parts male fantasy and paranoia. Given the current political climate in the States - with its anti-choice president and, more than three decades after Roe v Wade, 87% of counties without access to an abortion provider - it's unsurprising that Apatow chose not to go there, but it doesn't make the way he does it any less cowardly.

Not a single character in the film is allowed to utter the word "abortion". Is the notion really that heinous? The only character to actively advocate "taking care of things" is Alison's shallow, bitchy mother. The closest we get to hearing a pro-choice line is when one of Ben's loser pals suggests "something that rhymes with schmazmortion", at which point the rest of the gang jump on him because, hey, even stoned, layabout porn-junkies understand that abortion is wrong, wrong, wrong.

And so it goes that Alison and Ben, the least credible screen hook-up since Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker, fall in love, fall out, fall in again, and it all ends nappily ever after.

Anyway, the reviewers are praising Knocked Up to the skies - and I wouldn't deny for a second that there are some decent laughs in it - so the slacker-striver romance is clearly in the ascendant. Never mind that the female characters are either blank ciphers for the civilising of men, or joyless shriekers intent on corralling the essentially untameable male soul. Ah, Hollywood! I really should have gone to see Captivity instead. Can't get me enough of that torture-porn.


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Re: Knocked Up... the longest pro-life propaganda movie ever.
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2007, 06:06:00 PM »
Comments have now been closed on this entry.
"Alright, well, for the sake of this conversation, let's say the book does not exist."

John Junk

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Re: Knocked Up... the longest pro-life propaganda movie ever.
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2007, 01:40:18 PM »
No big conspiracy here.  The dead fetus jokes didn't test well.  Primarily because they weren't delivered by Sarah Silverman.