Friday, June 20, 2014
T&T Note: I did screen Obvious Child and thought, it's hard not to like a movie that features a lovable screw-up, that's unabashedly human and absurdly honest. But I also had so many posts to write this week that I was relieved when a fellow blogger asked if she could guest post and write a review on this movie - Le Anne Lindsay, Editor
Obvious Child Boards The Female-Centric Comedy Train
Obvious Child is the most recent film to jump on board the female-centric comedy train - and we’re more than glad it did. The film, which is the most recent addition to A24’s indie flick list, centers on Donna Stern, played by Jenny Slate, who both in the film and in reality is a 20 something budding stand up comic. Her comedy, both in “life” and during her “performances” within the film, is harsh, sexual, and downright hilarious. It’s rare to see a female lead crack the jokes; more often than not, that role is left to the Best Friend, or Witty Assistant – especially in rom-coms.
Obvious Child, however, is unique in its effort to be a rom-com that is anything but an ordinary romantic comedy. In fact, the film’s slogan on previews was “Take back the rom-com!” - which is why Donna Stern not only cracks jokes about her sex life on stage (which leads the then-boyfriend involved in the aforementioned sex, to dump her) she also discusses her underwear, bodily functions and other similar topics usually deemed “unladylike”. Male comedians have used personal humiliation and self-deprecation for years, but it has taken comedians such as Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Chelsea Lately, and more to clear the path for the fictional Donna Stern and real life Jenny Slate, who reveals more of herself onstage than perhaps any female comic before her.
Jenny Slate’s personality can be credited with carrying much of the story. She’s the type of woman who is both witty and at times outright crass. Her inability to hold back her tongue is both a blessing and a curse, as well as a trait many of us can relate to. What Jenny thinks, Jenny says, and although her weaker aspects – her self-pitying attitude, for one – can be grating, in the end they result in one of the more realistic, believable roles seen on film (similar, in a way, to Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, with Cate Blanchett’s gin guzzling, pill-popping, ex-rich lady role somehow winning the heart of the audience).
The story kicks off with Donna’s boyfriend ending the relationship. In order to cope, Donna goes out, gets overly intoxicated, has unprotected sex with a man she meets that evening, Max, played by Jake Lacy (and referred to after as "Pee-Farter" due to an incident involving much a much needed bathroom stop in an alley on the way home). A few weeks later, Donna discovers she’s pregnant. For obvious reasons, Donna is in no position to take care of a child. She’s a child herself, still financially dependent on her parents, and more often than not babied by her father. So far, this film may sound eerily reminiscent of Knocked Up, albeit with the roles reversed.
DirecTV with fellow A24 films) should be praised for furthering the trend of female-led comedies.
Since the sleeper hit Bridesmaids made it clear that women (and men) we’re ecstatic about films starring realistic, funny women, we’ve seen a series of great films and shows, such as Pitch Perfect, Girls, The Mindy Project and even the recent The Other Woman, Obvious Child can be considered the most recent addition to this fantastic list!
Elizabeth Eckhart is an entertainment and film writer born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She loves comedies, as well as period dramas and epics! She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart
T &T's LAMB Score : 3 outta 5
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