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Obvious Child

By REBECCA JACOBSON
Obvious Child is a revolutionary film disguised as a rom-com. But that rom-com costume is a genuine one, both in its rom half and its com half, and that’s what makes Obvious Child such a winning—and important—film. It revolves around Donna Stern, a fumbling Brooklyn standup comic, and as played by real-life comedian Jenny Slate, she’s free of airs and full of loopy charm. Early on, Donna is unceremoniously dumped by her schlubby boyfriend—turns out he’s been shtupping her good friend—and loses her job. So, as any distraught 28-year-old would do, she gets sloshed and proceeds to sleep with a clean-cut, boat shoe-wearing goy from Vermont. And then she gets pregnant. Here’s where Obvious Child is radical, as frustrating as it is that a common, legal medical procedure could feel radical in any context. It’s a foregone conclusion that Donna will have an abortion, and the decision isn’t labored or fraught. It’s Knocked Up with a shmashmortion that actually happens. But writer-director Gillian Robespierre isn’t pushing an agenda: She’s telling the specific story of one young woman who had a reckless evening and isn’t ready to be a mother. There’s no hand-wringing, no moral posturing, no political soapboxing. What becomes the real driver of the narrative is if—and if so, how—Donna will tell the man who inseminated that egg. His name is Max (Jake Lacy), and he turns out to be kind and smart and quick-witted, even if he looks like he probably played intramural lacrosse at Dartmouth. Some viewers are likely to have conniption fits over the matter-of-fact way Obvious Child treats abortion, or even allege that Donna deserves this unwanted pregnancy because she got drunk and forgot how condoms worked. But Robespierre is too levelheaded to engage with such unjustified claims. Will Donna think about her abortion from time to time? Absolutely. Will she regret it? Absolutely not.
 
  • Genres: Comedy
  • Running Time: 83 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, June 6, 2014
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Language, Sexual Content ]
  • Critic's Score: A-
  • Starring: Jenny Slate [Donna Stern], Jake Lacy [Max], Gaby Hoffman [Nellie], Gabe Liedman [Joey], Polly Draper [Mrs. Stern], Richard Kind [Mr. Stern], David Cross [Sam], Paul Briganti [Ryan], Cindy Cheung [Dr. Bernard], Stephen Singer [Gene]
  • Directed by: Gillian Robespierre [Director], Gillian Robespierre [Screenwriter], Elisabeth Holm [Producer], Julia Godzinskaya [Executive Producer], David Kaplan [Executive Producer], Stefan Nowicki [Executive Producer], Gillian Robespierre [Executive Producer], Michael Sackler [Executive Producer], Jenny Slate [Executive Producer], Brent Stiefel [Executive Producer], Sophie Vickers [Executive Producer], Chris Teague [Cinematographer], Casey Brooks [Film Editor], Chris Bordeaux [Original Music], Sara White [Production Design], Bridget Rafferty [Art Director], Ramsey Scott [Set Decoration], Evren Catlin [Costume Designer], Jessica Kelly [Casting]
  • Visit the Movie Website | Watch the trailer
 

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  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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