50DMC #21: A Movie Most Loved But I Hated

The 50 Day Movie Challenge asks one question every day, to be answered by a few paragraphs and a clip, if possible. Click here for the full list of questions.

Today’s prompt: What’s a movie that most fans and critics loved but you hated?

There aren’t very many films I *hate*, and most of the ones I do are generally not well-thought of by critics or fans in general. So I had to think for a while to come up with Knocked Up, but I think it definitely fits the criteria, even if “hate” is still a word I hesitate to use. I do actively dislike it, though, so I figure that’s close enough.

Knocked Up is incredibly well-regarded by critics and fans alike, and even though Judd Apatow did other films before it, it’s probably the one the kicked off the current Apatow film trend. He usually just produces films rather than directing them, but he did everything on Knocked Up, so I feel pretty justified in saying that I just don’t like his stuff. It’s only funny in a juvenile sort of way, and most of the humor comes from this group of man-children being pushed into adult situations that they can’t handle. Like a maternity ward. I’d say I don’t get it because I’m a woman, but a lot of Knocked Up fans are women, so it’s not as simple as that. It just does nothing for me, I don’t believe these characters should be together (or would be in real life, which has NOTHING to do with Rogen’s physical appearance and everything to do with the mismatch in the two characters’ personalities), and if Allison is Apatow’s idea of a well-written female character, then yeah. I rest my case. Maybe she isn’t, but that’s the impression I get from reading other reviews.

What keeps me from *hating* the film is the Paul Rudd-Leslie Mann subplot, a more dramatic look at a marriage that’s not quite working. THIS is the interesting story in the movie, and if they do a spinoff focusing on these two characters (which has been rumored for a while), I will watch it – even though I’m prepared to be disappointed. But in Knocked Up, this intriguing and emotionally truthful story was utterly eclipsed by the mediocrity and boorishness of the main plot. Since I hate to be a total downer, here’s a short clip from the part of the movie I DID like.

  • Woo hoo!  Comment box is working!  Because I’m lazy, I’m just going to copy & paste my remarks from G+.

    I was prepared to defend Knocked Up on the basis of the Rudd/Mann subplot, so I was pleased to see you’d already responded to that well. I’m happily married, but even I thrilled at that clip you selected. I believe there are two keys to a healthy, long term relationship. One is to always acknowledge when the other person cleans the dishes. The other is to give each other alone time. Guys tend to need more alone time than women, but this isn’t an absolute rule by any means. Knocked Up didn’t feature any discussions about dishes, but I thought it did a terrific job exploring my second point about alone time.

    For me, what makes Knocked Up stand a cut above most comedies is that subplot. There’s a humanity to that film that I find absent from most comedies. I’ve heard Judd Apatow describe his approach to making movies as writing a drama and then trusting his cast to make it funny, and I see that on display here.

    Maybe I connected with it particularly because I knew some people like the stoners in Knocked Up and was only a few years into being married at the time it came out. If that movie came out five years earlier, maybe it does nothing for me but it hit me at a time when I really appreciated it. All too often, marriage in movies is portrayed as either some kind of trophy to unlock or prison-like institution of some kind.

    • Yay on the comment box working! Maybe it just needed the update to work for you. That’s so weird.

      Anyway. Yeah, like I said, I really like the Rudd-Mann plot, for all the reasons you meantion, but it’s such a small amount of the movie comparatively. The rest of it I just…ugh. Maybe it’s because I generally can’t connect with stoners at all, at least not when I feel like I’m supposed to take them seriously in some way, but I just generally found all the guys in that movie (except Rudd, and Rogen once in a while) obnoxious and just wanted them to go away. And I found Allison annoying and wanted her to go away. Mixing annoying and obnoxious didn’t help, and I only made it through the movie at all by clinging to the bits with Rudd and Mann.

      I’ve pretty much just stopped going to Apatow-directed or -produced things – I tried for a while, thinking maybe I’d get it sometime, but his style of humor just doesn’t work for me. But even among Apatow stuff, Knocked Up is probably my least favorite one.