The new film Knocked Up, written and directed by Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin), is getting rave reviews from movie critics but an apparent thumbs down from some in another group — feminists. Why? Because of the basic premise — a successful woman (Katherine Heigl) gets “knocked up” by a lumpy loser (Seth Rogen) during a one-night stand, and instead of rushing down to Planned Parenthood, she decides to keep the baby. That’s it, that’s the big beef, that there apparently wasn’t any lengthy discussion of abortion. Linda Z, with WBAI Radio in New York, calls Knocked Up “right wing misogyny” (wait, I thought the liberals ran Hollywood — I’m so confused!) and says it drips with “not so hidden reactionary religious tones”.
So why did the director choose to not address abortion? My first thought was that Apatow didn’t want to bring his light-hearted movie to a screeching halt (see also, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), or worse yet, feel the need to play up an abortion plot line for yuks. But the answer turns out to be even simpler — he just didn’t want to:
“[Keeping the baby] was the story I wanted to tell,” said Apatow. “I’m sure there are fascinating stories about people having abortions — ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High,’ one of my favorites, is about a girl having sex in high school and then having an abortion. I think both points of view [approaches to an unplanned pregnancy] are valid. But I wanted to make a movie about two people trying really hard to do the right thing.”
OK, so obviously Apatow disagrees with me on Fast Times, but the bottom line is I don’t care what awful social message the film supposedly has, it’s entertainment and escapism, not government propaganda — and if the rest of it is as funny as this R-rated international trailer, it’s sure to end up on my list of favorite films.
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