Quickie Movie Review: ‘Obvious Child’ (Video)

Obvious Child, Sundance Film Festival 2014

“Obvious Child,” or “the abortion comedy” as you might call it in your Facebook status to bait your more conservative relatives, is already getting compared to “Knocked Up.” The only similarity between “Obvious Child” and the Judd Apatow comedy is the classic drunk-girl-meets-drunk-boy-and-accidentally-gets-pregnant storyline. Condoms are obtained. Condoms are unwrapped. Condoms never end up where they would actually be useful.

The film stars Jenny Slate as Donna, a stand-up comic in her late 20s who ends up pregnant after a post-break-up one night stand. It does two things really well: it presents abortion as a viable, totally not scary option for a women with an unwanted pregnancy, and it’s really, really funny.

Donna’s stand-up sets get a little gross, but like all great stand-up they find their humor in their relatability (see: unrealistic expectations about clean underwear). But the film’s funniest set is her post-breakup flame out, when she drunkenly uses her time on stage as a therapy session, or more accurately a call to her best friend two wine bottles in. While her desire to “murder-suicide” her ex and his new girlfriend gets crickets from her audience, the palpable tension in the tiny performance space got more laughs from the movie’s audience then any of her jokes about her possible menorah-based conception.

Even if the film hadn’t succeeded as a comedy it would have been an important movie because of how it depicts abortion. While many movie-going women have images of the creepy waiting room in “Juno” and the obviously dated but still horrifying botched abortion in “Dirty Dancing” to call up when they think about the procedure, Donna’s abortion is depicted as quick, safe, and not the kind of thing that will leave her scared for life.

The most unexpected thing about “Obvious Child” might be how cute the romance is. Donna’s one night stand Max (played by Jake Lacy) is adorable, the kind of guy who’s psyched to see her perform and will even warm up the butter for her roll. And their courtship isn’t ruined by the pregnancy, or Donna’s decision to end it. “Obvious Child” is a great comedy, and Jenny Slate’s performance pretty much guarantees we’ll be seeing more of her on the big screen.

You may also like...

  • NoNotThatOne

    Speaking as a middle-aged, gay male who abhors typical romantic comedies (I’m looking at you, Julia “overrated” Roberts), I must see this movie.

  • BMW

    Sounds like a real step up from “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” and her brief SNL stint.

  • TJ Barke

    Doesn’t she play Jean Ralphio’s really obnoxious sister on parks and rec?

    • Homestar

      Yes, and she’s hilarious on Kroll Show, too. I love her,