Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Movie Review: "Obvious Child" (2014)

Movie"Obvious Child"
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 24 minutes
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Aspiring comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) was just dumped by her boyfriend and found out that the anti-establishment, long standing institution of a bookstore she works in is closing down. Needless to say, she is pretty depressed, and after a terrible stand-up routine at the club where she performs, one of her friends try to cheer her up with some drinks. While partying away, she meets Max (Jake Lacy) and they hit it off pretty fast. As one thing leads to another, they wind up back at his place for what she assumes is a one night stand...at first. This one night of passion leads to Donna getting pregnant. As a 28 year old who can barely take care of herself, she decides she in no way can take care of a child and decides to have an abortion. When Max starts to come back around looking to start a relationship, Donna is stuck in the awkward position of whether or not to tell him about the pregnancy and her abortion, which is scheduled for Valentine's day.

For a movie about a woman's right to choose, it sure has a lot of balls.

This is the type of movie you either love or hate or you think it's okay (shout out to Mitch Hedberg), and in our case, we liked it. Well, I pretty much loved it, actually. Though the entire movie is centered around the very touchy, very personal, very emotional subject of abortion, it was somehow refreshing and found a way to be funny. It's not so much that the situations themselves are funny, but since Donna is a stand-up comedienne, humor is just how she copes with everything going on in her life. In our opinion, she's not making light of her situation, but rather coping with it the only way she knows how. That being said, this is really one of the first movies where we've seen the central focus of the plot of a movie be about abortion. Films have dealt with the subject before like in "Dirty Dancing" or "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," but they are always more of a subplot. This movie deals with Donna's impending procedure honestly and frankly. Sure, it's "one-sided," but it steers clear from the politics involved with abortion, thus its one-sidedness. The focus here is more on the personal struggle of a woman who is obviously not mature enough to raise a child on her own because she, herself, is an obvious child. We get to watch the evolution of Donna's character throughout the movie, complete with her many layers of immaturity. In one scene, we literally watch her run home to her mommy, strip down into her underwear, and crawl into bed in the fetal position. It doesn't get more "childish" than that. But throughout the 84 minute run time, the emotions she goes through are often times so subtle and yet so completely understood by audiences that it's masterful.

Jenny Slate does a brilliant job in this movie. Her humor might be hit or miss for some people, but I absolutely adore her, acting or otherwise. She really played an almost-30 year old who doesn't have her shit together extremely well. Sure, she might come off as crude and some of the jokes in this movie definitely made our mouths drop, but overall, she was the perfect choice for this movie because she's a comedienne. She's not your typical big name Hollywood actress, but rather a more well-rounded character actress, and we think this gives the movie as a whole more authenticity. You could believe that Jenny Slate is truly a struggling comedienne.

From the childish fart jokes to the overall serious subject matter, "Obvious Child" was a complete surprise from what we were expecting, but a pleasant one at that. It covers a topic that has always been seen as taboo but does so in a way that can make you empathize with the main character regardless of your personal stance on the matter. It's as real as it gets, and involves a situation that many women find themselves in unwittingly. All in all, it's an original and entertaining film that tries to slowly chip away at stigma that often surrounds this sensitive topic.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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