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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Judd Apatow
Cast:
Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Martin Starr, Charlyne Yi
Writing Credits:
Judd Apatow

Tagline:
A one night stand to end all others.

Synopsis:
Allison Scott (Katharine Heigl) is on the fast track for a promising career as an entertainment journalist. Her big plans get a little messed up, though, after a one-night stand with a total slacker (Seth Rogen) gets her pregnant. Although she has the determination to be a successful working single mom, Allison tries to involve her baby's daddy in her life, but he may turn out to be a little too immature to handle fatherhood.

Box Office:
Budget
$33 million.
Opening Weekend
$30.690 million on 2871 screens.
Domestic Gross
$148.734 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 133 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 9/25/2007

Bonus:
DVD One
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Judd Apatow, Actor/Executive Producer Seth Rogen, and Actors Bill Hader
• 14 Deleted Scenes
• Extended/Alternate Scenes
• “Line-O-Rama”
• Gag Reel
• Roller Coaster Doc
• “Directing the Director” Featurette
• “Loudon Wainwright III – Live at McCabe’s”
• “Topless Scene – Web Design Company”
DVD Two
• 14 Deleted Scenes
• Extended/Alternate Scenes
• Video Diaries
• “Kids on the Loose”
• “Beard-O-Rama”
• “Kuni Files”
• “Gummy: The 6th Roommate”
• “Stripper Confidential”
• “Finding Ben Stone” Featurette
• “Kuni Gone Wild”
• “Loudon Wainwright III Scoring Session”
• “Line-O-Rama Version 2”
• 2 Gag Reels
• “Loudon Wainwright III – Live at McCabe’s”
• “First Sex on Camera”
• “Topless Scene – Restaurant”
• Raw Footage
• Katherine Heigl Audition


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Knocked Up: Unrated Collector's Edition (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 12, 2007)

After the success of 2005’s 40-Year-Old Virgin, Judd Apatow went on to make an even bigger hit: 2007’s Knocked Up. Many termed it a “sleeper”, but I don’t think that term fits. Virgin was a sleeper because it crept in under the radar and found a good audience. On the other hand, many folks declared that Up would be the summer of 2007’s sleeper, which disqualifies it; you can’t be a sleeper if you’re so heavily touted in advance.

In any case, the flick’s $148 million gross turned it into a legit hit. Up introduces us to two mid-twenties LA-area residents who reside at firmly different poles in terms of their existences. Ben (Seth Rogen) lives on a rapidly dwindling disability settlement and spends most of his time getting stoned with his pals and watching porn. The latter acts as his sole career ambition. He and his buddies document nude scenes in movies and plan to make a living off of a related web site they will eventually launch. He’s a lazy slob totally without drive or ambition, and that seems fine with him.

On the other hand, Alison (Katherine Heigl) works for the E! cable channel and gets a promotion to become on-camera talent. Though not career obsessed, she seems eager to get ahead, and she’s a driven, tightly organized babe.

To celebrate her promotion, Alison’s sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) takes her out to a club. Ben and his pals end up at the same spot, and along the way, he meets Alison. One thing leads to another, and largely due to severe inebriation, Alison takes Ben home with her. They get it on, though due to a failure to communicate, they fail to use protection.

After this one night of drunken pleasure, they go their separate ways. Eight weeks later, Alison calls up Ben to tell him she’s pregnant – and he’s the father. The rest of the movie looks at the development of their relationship as they get to know each other and see how they can interact.

When I look at Knocked Up, I see a flick that defines the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. I can point out a ton of problems in this flick. For one, it’s way too long. Just like Virgin, this sucker runs much longer than typical for its genre, and we feel the length.

Apatow needs to learn to edit. He seems to be so enamored of all his ideas that he can’t bear to cut any of them. This makes Up awfully inconsistent, and the flick’s pacing suffers. Anyone can find scads of moments that may be fun but that don’t serve the film particularly well and that should’ve gotten the boot. Less is more sometimes.

I’m also not particularly wild about the subplot with Alison’s sister Debbie and brother-in-law Pete (Paul Rudd). They’re more a plot device than anything else, as they serve to give some tension and have their relationship woes scare Ben and Alison but not much else. Sure, the Pete/Debbie stuff helps show the pitfalls of marriage, but enough is enough, especially when Debbie thinks Pete’s cheating on her. It doesn’t help that Debbie is rendered relentlessly unsympathetic. She’s a soul-crushing bitch, really, so it’s hard to feel for her.

The trip that Ben and Pete take to Vegas demonstrates both negative trends. It goes on too long, and it doesn’t serve much of a purpose in terms of plot. Oh, it does move along some story elements, but those could’ve been achieved more efficiently and effectively. Like much of the flick, the sequence comes across as self-indulgent.

I’m usually terrible with continuity issues, so that makes those that pop up here seem all the more annoying. Actually, some of them fall into the “plot convenience” category. First we’re told that Ben has absolutely no recollection of his sexual encounter with Alison, but later on they argue about it and he seems to have complete memory of it. A mix of other goofs occur as well, and these create some distractions. Oh, and it’s not continuity, but seriously, what’re the chances Ben and his guys never heard of Mr. Skin? That’s another annoying plot convenience.

All that said, I gotta admit I like Knocked Up. (There’s that “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” thing.) The flick’s just too damned funny and charming for me to slam it. Heigl and Rogen are both charming and likable, and they create a good couple. I still find it awfully hard to accept that any woman who looks like Heigl would bang a guy who looks like Rogen, but they almost let me believe it.

Really, Rogen’s something of a revelation here. Sure, he’s always been good in various supporting roles, but who knew he’d transition into leading man territory so well? He’s wholly believable in the part and funny as well.

The flick’s supporting cast helps a ton. There’s not a weak link in the bunch, though maybe Mann should’ve played Debbie as less of a life-killing harpy. I can understand the choice, though, and don’t think it’s a radical misstep. Not everyone can be light and fun like the others.

Actually, many of the other women stand out from the crowd. Kristen Wiig steals all her scenes as the woman-hating TV executive, and Charlyne Yi unleashes her inner Tommy Chong as Martin’s goofy girlfriend. It’s not just the ladies who zing, though. Ken Jeong’s hilarious as an overly intense gyno, and I like the short bit with Craig Robinson’s sensitive club bouncer.

Maybe someday Judd Apatow will make a well-edited, concise movie. I look forward to that day, but if I have to choose between a tight, sharp flick with no soul and a rambling, sprawling but charming and warm mess like Knocked Up, I’ll go with the latter. I could criticize it for hours, but at the end of the day, it’s too enjoyable for me to view it in any light other than a positive one.

Note that this DVD presents an extended unrated cut of Knocked Up. This adds about four minutes to the 129-minute running time of the theatrical version. Nothing terribly substantial comes from these extra few minutes, so don’t expect it to change the experience.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus A

Knocked Up appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While not great, this was a generally good transfer.

Sharpness usually looked strong. Some minor softness interfered at times, though not to a substantial degree. Most of the movie seemed accurate and concise. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed only minor edge enhancement. In terms of source flaws, I detected a couple small specks but nothing major.

Colors were usually positive. The style of the film made it appear somewhat overly bright, but I still thought the hues were mostly lively and well-developed. Blacks seemed deep and firm, while shadows were clear and smooth. This was a good presentation but not one that excelled.

As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Knocked Up, it fit the standard “comedy mix” parameters for the most part. Wthin that lackluster scope, however, I thought the audio seemed good. Music offered the strongest aspects of the mix, as the score and songs boasted great stereo imaging. The effects tended toward general environmental material and rarely broadened out too much. This meant the surrounds tended toward general reinforcement, so don’t expect them to add a ton to the experience.

Audio quality was very good. Speech always sounded concise and natural, without edginess or other concerns. Effects appeared accurate and full, though they didn’t do much to tax my system. Again, music fared best. From the opening strains of the Wu-Tang Clan, the tunes and score were lively and dynamic. This wasn’t a killer track, but it was good for this kind of flick.

Boohoogles of extras fill out this two-disc set. On DVD One, we start with an audio commentary from writer/director Judd Apatow, actor/executive producer Seth Rogen, and actor Bill Hader. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. Don’t expect much insight into the technical side of filmmaking, as characters and story are the main emphasis here. We learn a lot about cast and performances as well as various scene details such as inspirations and influences. We get a ton of notes about how Apatow’s real life prompted many sequences, and the track often digresses into related subjects. Occasionally we learn a little about editing, cut segments, and changes for the extended version.

This kind of commentary could easily become a mess, but with these guys, it remains lively and funny. Rogen and Apatow carry most of the weight, as Hader’s there mostly for fun. They prod the SNL performer to do some celebrity impersonations early in the track; these can be mildly amusing – especially when “Al Pacino” claims he acted in a movie actually done by De Niro – but the gag gets old quickly, so it’s good they abandon it.

The commentary is much more interesting when the guys riff on various concepts and tell their stories. We hear about Tobey Maguire at an early screening and stalking Harold Ramis. Plenty of entertaining tales come along with this chat, and we learn a fair amount about various elements of the story, scenes and characters. It’s not the most informative track you’ll hear, but it’s a lot of fun.

One disappointment: there’s no explanation of why the movie mentions Spider-Man 3 so much. That annoyed me as I watched the flick, and I wanted to know why we heard so many references to it. Apatow starts to tell us but he gets interrupted and never returns to the subject. Damn!

14 Deleted Scenes last a total of 18 minutes, 54 seconds. We find “Park Bench – Short” (0:50), “Martin Gets Hit By DVD” (0:41), “Guys Talk with Ben – Jason” (2:40), “Gyno Visit – Female Doctor #1” (0:59), “Dinner with Kids” (0:34), “Vegas Blackjack – Angry” (0:37), “Casino Dance Club” (0:59), “Got to Get a Job” (1:42), “Eva and Alison” (1:30), “Baby Boy Montage (Alternate Ending – It’s a Boy)” (0:51), “Bathroom (Fart)” (1:11), “Pot Pie” (2:06), “Jonah - Brokeback Mountain” (2:45), and “Ben Watches Birth Videos – Jonah” (1:26).

God knows that the movie doesn’t need any of these scenes since it’s already ridiculously long. That doesn’t mean we don’t find lots of great stuff here, though. Only a few seem forgettable, as most are quite amusing. The collection of clips definitely deserves a look.

If all that’s not enough, we get fourExtended/Alternate Scenes. These take up a total of eight minutes, 27 seconds and include “Ryan Seacrest” (2:28), “Jonah and Martin’s Beard” (1:45), “Alison on the Red Carpet” (0:41) and “Fatherly Advice” (3:32). Expect more funny material here, even if none of it should’ve made the final cut. “Carpet” is especially good, though, as it provides a fine cameo from Owen Wilson.

For still more unused footage, we move to Line-O-Rama. The three-minute and 35-second compilation collects lots of alternate lines for scenes that made the flick. We get lots of funny stuff in this fast-paced piece.

A Gag Reel lasts three minutes and 27 seconds. A little more cut footage and some alternate lines pop up, but mostly we get the standard goofs and giggles.

Next comes a five-minute and 19-second Roller Coaster Doc. We watch the shoot at an amusement park, with an emphasis on Jay Baruchel’s fear of coasters. While Baruchel does seem kind of like a wuss, I must admit I feel sorry for him here since they lied to him to get him on the ride. This is a quirky but cool look behind the scenes.

A featurette called Directing the Director runs seven minutes, 41 seconds. This one claims that Apatow had “contentious” interactions with Universal so they sent Capote’s Bennett Miller to watch over his shoulder. Of course, the whole thing’s a gag. It’s a little dopey but has some entertainment value.

For some music, we head to Loudon Wainwright III – Live at McCabe’s. Wainwright performs “You Can’t Fail Me Now” in this three-minute and 48-second clip. It doesn’t do much for me, but it’s there if you dig Wainwright’s work.

Topless Scene – Web Design Company lasts a whopping 33 seconds. Don’t get too excited – we’re stuck with half a minute of shirtless Rogen. I have a female friend who thinks he’s hot. She’s wrong.

DVD One opens with some ads. We find promos for Heroes Season One, White Noise 2, HD-DVD and Bring It On: In It to Win It.

With that we head to DVD Two and its goodies. To my shock, the filmmakers present 14 more Deleted Scenes that occupy a total of 30 minutes, 25 seconds. We get “Numb Vagina” (0:29), “Park Bench – Long” (3:36), “Guys Talk With Ben” (11:48 across seven takes), “Gyno Visits: Dr. Kuni” (2:18), “Gyno Visits: Male Doctor” (1:45), “Gyno Visits: Female Doctor #3” (2:08), “Vegas Strip Club: I Miss Alison” (0:26), “Vegas Strip Club: Vagina Burning” (0:37), “Vegas Pool – Website Idea” (0:36), “Hospital Waiting Room Intro – Shrooms” (1:32), “Night Wake Up” (0:49), “E! Girls – Ali Is Huge” (0:32), “Ali Talks to Friends – Jay” (1:25) and “Ali Talks to Friends – Jodi” (2:19).

Expect more of the same kind of content found in DVD One’s collection of deleted scenes. Do we see anything here that should’ve ended up in the final film? Probably not – it doesn’t need more bloat. Do we find lots of very funny content? Definitely.

If you expect more Extended/Alternate Scenes as well, you’re right! We get eight for a total of 29 minutes, three seconds of footage. We find “Club Table Alts: Guys in LA” (1:39), “Club Table Alts: Girls in LA” (1:19), “Morning After” (3:18), “Friends Talk on the Couch” (7:14), “Fantasy Baseball Fight – Angry” (2:42), “E! Office Extended Promotion” (6:43), “Ben Calls Dr. Howard’s Kid” (0:59) and “Hospital Waiting Room – Jonah’s Panic” (5:06). There’s plenty more good material on display here, so definitely check out these segments, especially since we find more Kristen Wiig.

After this come 22 Video Diaries. All together, they last 28 minutes, 32 seconds. These start on May 15, 2006, with the first day of production and continue through the final day of the shoot. Through these, Apatow talks about his experiences during filming and also shows us some behind the scenes bits. He complains and worries a lot, but in a funny way, and these are entertaining insights. It’s disconcerting to see his beard disappear midway through the shoot, though; I don’t know which way he looks better, but I’m so used to hirsute Apatow that shorn Apatow gives me the creeps. Well, at least he grows it back as the shoot progresses.

Kids on the Loose lasts five minutes, 36 seconds. This is really just another collection of outtakes, as we see many shots of Apatow’s kids as Pete and Debbie’s daughters. It’s a little too Art Linkletter for my liking.

For the four-minute and two-second Beard-O-Rama, we focus on Martin’s “Dirty Man Competition”. It alternates between outtakes of the insults he receives and the actor’s griping about how much he hates the fake beard. It’s a funny set of shots.

Next we get Kuni Files, a five-minute and 28-second clip. I thought this’d include more outtakes – which it does - but it mostly follows actor Ken Jeong as he goes through aspects of his role. We also hear from medical technical advisor Suzie Schelling as she discusses attempts to bring reality to the scenes. I like the behind the scenes elements, as they give us a good look at the shoot.

The intriguing possibility of an alternate plot thread greets us with Gummy: The 6th Roommate. The six-minute and 42-second piece offers notes from actor David Krumholtz as he discusses why he bailed on the flick. I’m not sure how much of this is true, but it’s interesting.

We find the prospect of some nudity via Stripper Confidential. The two-minute and two-second snippet indeed features a little skin, but mostly it looks at how Apatow directed the strip club scenes. It’s short and not particularly informative.

After this we find the 30-minute and 26-second Finding Ben Stone. This program purports to show all the problems Apatow had finding a lead actor. He goes through Michael Cera, Orlando Bloom, James Franco, Krumholtz, Justin Long, Allen Covert, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Gerry Bednob, and Apatow himself. We see all of them crash and burn in this comically confrontational piece. Of course, it’s all a gag, but it’s a pretty funny one.

In Kuni Gone Wild, we get a five-minute and 52-second extended take of the birth scene. We already saw some of this during “Kuni Files”, but it’s good to watch the whole thing without interruption.

More music arrives via Loudon Wainwright III Scoring Session. This four-minute and 47-second featurette includes notes from Wainwright as he discusses the movie’s score. It’s a short but informative little piece.

Expect more alternate quips in the six-minute and 37-second Line-O-Rama Version 2. Plenty of additional funny bits emerge in this compilation.

Two more Gag Reels follow this. Version 2 lasts four minutes, 59 seconds, while Version 3 runs three minutes, 25 seconds. As with the gag reel on DVD One, these two have their moments but they’re usually just the standard silliness.

Back to the music for another look at Loudon Wainwright III – Live at McCabe’s. Two tunes appear: “Grey in LA” (3:14) and “Daughter” (3:46). I still don’t care, but fans will probably be happy to see these numbers.

First Sex on Camera goes for one minute and 31 seconds. Rogen and Jonah Hill briefly tell us what it was like to shoot their first movie sex scenes. A few decent notes emerge, but don’t expect much.

More unpleasantness arrives via the three-minute and 26-second Topless Scene – Restaurant. This just shows the Ben/Alison dinner scene with a partially clad Rogen. I’m sure somewhere on the planet I could find a man who looks worse without his shirt, but that’s tough to imagine.

Two pieces of Raw Footage appear next. We get “Geisha House” (10:51) and “Swingers” (7:20). These allow us to watch continues takes of those scenes. I like being able to check out the sequences without cuts or interruptions.

Finally, we end with a Katherine Heigl Audition. This clip fills two minutes, 43 seconds as it shows her with Rogen. They run through the scene where Alison boots Ben from her car. It’s cool to get a look at her test sequence.

Like its leading man, Knocked Up is a scruffy mess. Despite its mix of flaws, though, it’s got way too much going for it to see it in a negative way. It comes with lots of problems but is very funny and charming. The DVD presents pretty good picture and audio as well as tons and tons of useful extras. This is a strong DVD for a charming movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6296 Stars Number of Votes: 27
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main