I loved “The Forty Year Old Virgin,” and since Judd Apatow wrote and directed both movies, I was sure I’d like “Knocked Up” too. As the cast was introduced before the film began, I was even happy the music was from Loudon Wainwright III, since I’ve been his fan since before Rufus was born. So okay, the movie begins, and I hate it. The vulgarity doesn’t bother me. The “Porky’s” mentality doesn’t bother me. What offends and disgusts and infuriates me is the premise: a beautiful, smart, successful young woman gets pregnant during a one-night stand with a loser who spends his days and nights getting high, who has no job but plenty of money to buy enormous amounts of drugs, and who lives with an assortment of equally stoned losers. Okay, that could happen. Does happen. I’ll buy that.
What I could not buy was the idea that she would immediately contact the guy and tell him she’s pregnant. And when the guy’s geeky friends find out, they can’t bring themselves to use the “A-word.” They can use every filthy, salacious, repugnant word in the English language, but they can’t say the “A-word.” Neither can the girl’s mother, the only sensible person in the movie. Instead, Apatow has everybody talk about “taking care of it.” The girl, of course, doesn’t “take care of it” because then she would get on with her life, meet a grown-up man and have his baby, and there wouldn’t be a movie.
Instead, she announces that she’s keeping the baby. Oh, and by the way, she just happens to live in the palatial home of her sister, who just happens to have married the man who knocked her up too, and look how well that turned out. The sister has great hair, great kids, and a lovable husband whose only complaint about marriage is that it takes up all his time. How could a girl go wrong to work at building a relationship with the loser who knocked her up? Look how well it ended for her sister, right? And of course it does. The crack-head sobers up, gets a job that miraculously pays him enough to furnish a really great apartment, and the girl’s employers are just ecstatic that she’s pregnant. Heck, they’ll even give her a raise. After a few rocky and sweet relationship moments, the girl and the doper have the baby, with the obligatory screaming and shot of her vagina and the baby’s crowning. Also the equally obligatory shot of the baby coming out covered with goo and umbilical cord, and isn’t that just the sweetest thing in the world? And then the ending, with the cleaned up guy whispering to the cleaned up baby how she came to be, and what a wonderful mistake he’d made in getting her mother knocked up. I nearly threw up.
The movie has made what Carol Shields called the “testicular hit list” of male-written material wildly applauded by other males, but I don’t know why any woman would like it. Let us not fall back into the starry-eyed myth that fatherhood turns irresponsible boys into strong men. Let us not perpetuate the lie that every pregnancy is a good thing that should be celebrated. Let us not promote the idea that bringing a child into the world is always the right thing to do, even if you don’t have a home of your own or a job that will pay for that child’s basic needs. That only works in a movie. In real life, loser crack-heads stay loser crack-heads, you don’t get a promotion or a raise because you’re single and pregnant, and your rich sister may not let you live in her big house forever.
I give this movie a big honking Ugh!