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Rude Awakening: American Comedy, 1990–2010

Sunday, August 24, 2014
7:00 p.m. Knocked Up
Judd Apatow (U.S., 2007)

With Judd Apatow’s schlockbuster, we get a crass course in contemporary comedy. Here, dumpy stoner Ben (Seth Rogen) gets the comely careerist Alison (Katherine Heigl) in a classic boy-bleeps-girl story. An influential humor-monger, Apatow has had his hand in many recent rollicks, Bridesmaids, Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Girls, Superbad, and others. His specialty is the domestic drama in which some ritual like courtship collapses under the weight of gross guffaws. In Knocked Up, Rogen’s rough-edged romancer gets his vulgarity varnished to a fine sheen. But for Heigl’s Alison, the expectant mother must lower her expectations.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Apatow. Photographed by Eric Alan Edwards. With Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann. (129 mins, Color, DCP, From Universal Pictures)