Friday, June 08, 2007

Off Topic - Knocked Up

So last Sunday, we were all hanging out at the Marrieds for brunch when Married Boy mentioned that he and Married girl went to see Knocked Up. Like most of the North America, the Marrieds really enjoyed Knocked Up. There's been quite a bit of chatter online about Knocked Up.

Both rapturous:

And critical:,0,3575880.story

Knowing it was made by Judd Apatow, I am sure it was well written and well acted and damn entertaining. Nevertheless, without seeing the movie, it still chafes my chaps. It probably makes me a fundamentalist feminazi to dismiss something without actually SEEING it but I still can't deal with the premise no matter how wonderfully executed. This totally makes me a hypocrite because I loved Bringing Down the House, that cheesy, cliche-ridden spectacle of Steve Martin clearly trying to earn a paycheck. But I went into howls of laughter at the black person helps whitep erson find his groove movie. And I can understand how people can love Knocked Up for transcending the cliches on which it is based. But I can't get past that. On the Stevethepenguin blog a commenter put it far, far better than I.

Anonymous said...

Bianca, I don't have a blog, but I am a professional writer - and I was cruising the internet when I saw "Knocked up" and I thought, is there anyone else that sees something wrong with this picture, literally?

Even the premise. The guy is not a diamond in the rough. Is this movie brought to us or funded by some conservative organization who think that getting mom to keep the baby and marry the baby is going to hold the fabric of society together? Clearly this is the fantasy of a shlubby guy as well? But where is the woman's happy ending, I ask again?

If you think that guy is "cute" and "kewl," imagine that in short order in that scenerio, you become the nag, the mother, the keeper of order and bills and all unfun things in the house, and chief fun killer, while the guy makes cameo appearances at parenting: the adorable holding asleep on the couch while the baby takes a nap, the crawling into an undersized house or jungle gym -- comedy ensues.

What possible outcome are we serving up to all the date-movie goers? Why is this fun for the kiddies? You become Marge Simpson. That wife on everyone loves Ramond.

The guy gets to have fun, not diet, be himself, a load of laughs to have a beer with, while you become the drudge. The woman grinds her teeth and becomes The one that pays the taxes, gets the kids up, goes to work regardless. When you get to be older, what do you do when you really fall in love with someone compatible, or does your sex drive and desire for compatible compansionship even count in this? Is that why women need a "starter marriage" to get the adorable fuff out of her system?

I ask you, what sort of success would a movie be if the roles were reversed. A chubby, stubbly young girl who is not the brightest bulb who shulbs around in a t-shirt and jeans gets knocked up with a shapely smart A-lister hottie (insert name here)? Would it be a happy ending that the guy commits her? Would it seem natural for that to be a best-ever date movie for all the male reviewers?

Are women allowed to be natural? Fumbling? Just okay? Just funny? And still get the "great" guy?

Or do we all have to be Marge Simpson? The mommy? The stern good girl that secretly grins at the loveable foof, but she cannot be as free herself. She has to sort of keep her girdle on, be the good girl, be the parent.

The message of this movie: Give it up girls, you're natural role is to deny, deny, deny yourself and be a mommy. It is god-ordained for you to be the mommy. And not just to a baby, but a man-child.

How many young women say to themselves: "I aspire to have a life like the wife on the Family Guy?" or "I aspire to be Marge Simpson, that is the happy ending for me." This movie is how that life starts. It's a great deal for the guy...

I really can't let this movie pass without comment. Never mind violence on tv or smokers in the movies, what are we teaching the youngsters here? What are we telling young women about what to expect and ask for in life?


Stef said...

I think you need to see the movie before dismissing it. It doesn't claim to be any missive on how anyone is supposed to live their lives, it's just a movie. But it is a very warm, funny, well-written story about what these particular characters do in this particular situation.

I'm getting really tired of hearing the so-called feminist rant against this movie, along the lines of "that smart, hot, successful career woman should've dumped the shlub and had an abortion and kept going with her career." Okay, fine, that's an option. But it's not the option she chooses, and that's not what the movie is about. The point of being pro-choice is to have those options and then be free - both legally and culturally - to choose what works best for you. I'm vehemently pro-choice and think every woman should have the full range of options available to them. But I also know that if I were to suddenly find myself unexpectedly pregnant, I would have the baby. And that doesn't make me any less of a feminist.

As for the Marge Simpson argument that commenter uses... to me, that seems dangerously close to saying that a hot woman shouldn't be with a fat guy, and that's just trading another set of stereoptypes and prejudices. In the movie, sure, the guy is a 23-year-old slacker -- but when he chooses to make a go of it with a woman that he really is falling for, he starts putting his life together. And guess what, she falls for him too. So be careful of arguments that try to say who people should or should not love.

I guess the romantic notion of opposites attracting isn't good enough anymore, eh? If either member of a couple tends to be the more analytical or type-A one, that will surely be the person who worries more about paying the taxes and planning the schedule. It doesn't make it oppression.

And, like I said, it's just a movie.

DC Food Blog said...

I don't think it's about this particular movie. And really Stef, it's not a so-called feminist rant. If feminists can be girly and wear lipstick, it's just as valid to have a strident critique of a movie. If feminism comes in all forms, it can certainly be the strident form. Can we at least be a little more Free to Be You and Me about feminism. You can choose to bring an unplanned pregnancy to term and i can hate Knocked Up and wer'e both still feminists.

I totally can give that this movie is probably well done BUT it does buy in to a sexist paradigm - which is that men have a right to ANY woman they want, regardless of compatibility. And how do you respond to point about the popularity or beleivability of a movie where the roles are reversed. In Circle of Friends, plump Minnie Driver is constantly apologizing for her weight and calling herself a rhinoceros. Do the men in these types of movies apologize for themselves and constantly point out their flaws that way? And thise movie is mass communication. How is the way the movie plays out any less of a message of who people do and do not date than an essay on the movie. I don't want to let any form of entertainment off the hook. And i completely acknowledge that it can be a heartfelt, interesting piece of entertainment. But it still plays into a cultural paradigm that is challenging and problematic paradigm. Would I have a problem with this movie is there was five gazillion tv shows with Sara Rue hooking up with Gael Garcia Bernal? Hells no.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stef that you should see the movie. And for anyone else reading, there are going to be spoilers. The Katherine Heigl character in the movie gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby either way. She does not fall for this guy overnight, nor does she sleep with him because she is in love. In fact, she ends up falling for him in spite of herself. And when his slovenliness and laziness become to much for her, she ditches him. And he cleans up his act - gets a job, and moves out of the group house with his buddies. And he does step up and become more of a man, because he wants to be with her, NOT because she badgers him into doing it. And he discovers that he kind of likes it...

While I tend to agree with you that too much of our media make the women stand up to much higher standards, I don't necessarily agree that this movie plays into that paradigm to the extent you believe it does.

And we won't know if you agree with my assessment or not until you see it...

Dancer in DC said...

I think that the arguements against this movie (particularly from those that haven't seen it) miss the mark.

The crux of the movie actually centers around the fact that the man is not good enough for the woman, and everyone knows it. So he has to change his pot-smoking, party all the time ways in order to earn her respect, and ultimately her love.

It's hard to say more without spoiling the movie.

And as Stef said, it's a COMEDY. It is not meant to be some kind of social commentary piece.

It amazes me that comedies are too frequently nowadays put under such intense scrutiny, while there is not wild outrage over the buckets of money that Americans spend on films that glorify human torture. Why is Knocked Up raising the ire of feminists, while Hostel II (which features men paying to exact the horrific mutilation of women) just rakes in the cash with nary a peep?

So to the feminists obsessed with knocking on Knocked Up, I say - your priorities are grossly misplaced.