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Column
'Knocked Up' Tests Negative
by Scott Holleran
Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen in
Knocked Up
June 8, 2007

Burbank, California—Seen in the best circumstances at Grauman's Chinese Theater, the raunchy Knocked Up is another one of those lowly movies that string situations and jokes together. There is practically no realism. With a daft point that life is a series of accidents, it knocks its only asset, actress Katherine Heigl, who makes the most of a two-dimensional role that's a fantasy.

Heigl, radiant and convincing as a rising entertainment television producer, becomes pregnant after a one-night stand with a pig played by Seth Rogen. His character is a criminal who assumes he can live for two years on $900, making money from what he calls an "Internet Web site." Unsurprisingly, his primary purpose in life is to smoke marijuana.

That Heigl's gorgeous blonde—a sharp young woman living on her older sister's property—would consider celebrating a major career advancement by having sex with this louse is one of several overstretches. There is not one hint why she does it but Knocked Up carries on, plugging away its conservative theme—abortion is not an option in movies anymore—in the umpteenth arrested development comedy. If there's more to life than bong hits and unwanted pregnancy, it will not be found in this recycled trash.

The kid that plays the sister's youngest daughter is adorable and the script has some alternately touching and hilarious scenes. Vintage B-52s tunes are nicely placed. But the prospect of an attractive, ambitious youth cut down early in life by being saddled with an unwanted baby and its boorish father is as rooted in reality as the notion that two grown, gorgeous women would load up on fifty brands of home pregnancy tests rather than book an appointment with a doctor. Knocked Up is essentially a rationalization for stupid behavior, coming off like a hybrid of an anti-abortion testimonial and an episode of the The Simpsons.

Paul Rudd in Knocked Up
Rogen's druggie is a friend with three other druggies who live under the same roof in a house that can only be described as a home for underdeveloped adults. They spread communicable diseases and vaguely try to make money from indexing Hollywood nude scenes on the Web. Leslie Mann plays the sister, Paul Rudd is the sister's hapless husband (is there any other type in these crude comedies?) and the only character worth cheering is an Asian doctor who sees these two expectant parents for what they are: two fools with zero awareness of the reality of birthing, let alone raising, a child.

Tinseltown Notes

On a brighter note, Jeff Klein's Sunset Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard is still the place for a summer cocktail while taking in one of L.A.'s most panoramic views. The Art Deco hotel on Sunset Boulevard has some of Tinseltown's most elegantly appointed rooms and well-groomed guests match the attentive staff.

Golden Age guests included Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Greta Garbo and, it's true, John Wayne, whose former apartment is now the Sunset Tower's salon and spa, kept a cow on the balcony for serving fresh milk for his guests' coffee.

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