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Gillian Robespierre
Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann
Writing Credits:
Gillian Robespierre

A 20-something comedienne's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.

Box Office:
$1 million.
Opening Weekend
$77,315 on 3 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 10/7/2014

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Gillian Robespierre, Producer/Co-Writer Elisabeth Holm and Actor Jenny Slate
• “The Making of Obvious Child” Featurette
• 5 Extended Scenes
• Short Film
• Previews


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Obvious Child [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 17, 2023)

Jenny Slate’s acting career has mostly placed her in supporting roles or as a voice performer for animated works. 2014’s Obvious Child allowed her a rare lead part.

20-something standup comedian Donna Stern (Slate) gets dumped by her boyfriend Ryan (Paul Briganti) after he cheats on her with her friend Kate. On the rebound, she has a one-night stand with a man named Max Brown (Jake Lacy).

This encounter leaves Donna pregnant. Donna copes with this news and how she wants to progress with her life as well as a potential relationship with Max.

Child originally came to life as a 21-minute 2009 short film. As often becomes the case, those roots seem clear, as the feature-length version stretches to fill its 84 minutes.

This leaves Child as a movie that often feels improvised and organized around two themes. One looks at Donna’s “coming of age” dramatic push toward some form of maturity.

In these moments, we get the sense Child functions as a showcase for Slate’s talents – and she does fine, really. Though more comfortable with the comedy, she pulls off the role’s serious moments as well.

However, a lot of this feels thin and contrived, as I get the feeling the movie mainly exists as a way to display Slate’s skills. Donna rarely feels like a particularly real character, as instead she comes across more like a series of traits that exist to give Slate a chance to shine.

The other side of Child revolves around semi-random comedic beats and the rom-com approach to the Donna/Max relationship. Those two intersect, as much of the Donna/Max connection revolves around joking, with only occasional bouts of seriousness.

All of this leaves Child as a watchable but unfocused effort. It tends to ramble more than a little, and it relies on its jokes too often because it seems concerned that if it gets too serious, it’ll lose the viewer.

Granted, it makes sense that Donna would lean on jokes as a defense mechanism. Nonetheless, the film uses this as its own form of self-protection too much of the time.

Child remains a watchable movie but even at a brief 84 minutes, it lacks the content it needs. That makes it a little thin for a feature film.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Obvious Child appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a pretty solid presentation.

Overall delineation seemed positive. A little softness interfered with a few interiors, but the movie usually provided good delineation.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws remained absent.

Much of Child opted for a strong orange/amber tint, with some blues as well. The colors came across as intended.

Blacks appeared deep and dense, while shadows worked fine. Though not a visual showcase, the image seemed more than satisfactory.

Don’t expect much from the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. This didn’t come as a surprise, for I anticipated a low-key mix from a character comedy like this.

This meant a soundscape that emphasized music and general ambience. Street scenes added some involvement, as did those in clubs, but most of the soundfield stayed subdued and concentrated on general environmental information.

Audio quality seemed fine, with dialogue that appeared natural and distinctive. Music displayed nice range and boldness.

Effects lacked much to do, but they nonetheless seemed accurate and full. This was a perfectly adequate soundtrack for the movie’s goals.

As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Gillian Robespierre, producer/co-writer Elisabeth Holm and actor Jenny Slate. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, editing and deleted material, costumes, and related subjects.

Expect a decent but unexceptional chat. While we get a reasonable number of useful notes, we also find too many slow spots and too much happy talk to make this an above-average commentary.

The Making of Obvious Child run 24 minutes, 39 seconds. It offers notes from Robespierre, Slate, Holm, and actors Gabe Liedman, Polly Draper, and Jake Lacy.

The featurette looks at the source short film and its adaptation, story/characters, casting and performances, and the movie’s release. Though some fluff emerges, the program offers a generally good view of the subject matter.

Five Extended Scenes occupy a total of 23 minutes, 52 seconds. Two show more standup, while another offers additional drunk phone messages from Donna to her ex.

A fourth expands the first time Donna and Max connect romantically, while the fifth features more of Donna with her sister and friend as they discuss her life. Given the movie struggled to fill out 84 minutes, these longer scenes wouldn’t have helped it.

We also find the original 2009 Obvious Child Short Film. It goes for 20 minutes, 53 seconds and features Slate in the role she would later play in the feature.

This one cuts to the chase and becomes a much tighter experience. It could probably expand the characters more than it does, but it still fares better than the too-long feature version.

The disc opens with ads for Laggies, Life After Beth, The Spectacular Now, The Bling Ring and Spring Breakers. No trailer for Child appears here.

Obvious Child acted as a star turn for Jenny Slate, one that showcased her skills. While she does fine, the movie itself lacks enough substance to succeed across its brief running time. The Blu-ray boasts strong visuals, acceptable audio and a mix of bonus materials. Expect a decent but inconsistent mix of drama and comedy.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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