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We’ve seen pregnancy films like Juno and Knocked Up have box office success, but there has yet to be a progressive and successful movie about abortion that you can laugh along with.
The Economist referred to Obvious Child cleverly with a pun citing the movie as a “one-night stand up”, and it enjoyed a glowing reception at the Sundance Film Festival this past year. The terse Jenny Slate (of the “Marcel the Shell with Shoes on” skits, Bored to Death, Kroll Show) plays Donna Stern, a college graduate who finds herself dumped, laid off, and accidentally pregnant from a one-night stand all in the same week. After immediately deciding she’ll have an abortion, Donna has to decide whether to tell the father she is having the abortion. Slate’s character is witty and outshines her love interest Max (Jake Lacey). But like any romantic-comedy, you wishfully think the two will end up together.
Outside of the harsh toilet jokes, there are plenty of laughs with situational humour for those who do not enjoy deliberate fart jokes. There’s also more to the plot than the protagonist having an abortion. There are times when you feel sorry for Slate having to deal with her distant mother and overbearing father, whom she’s afraid to disappoint. Her problems and tough encounters are not candy-coated, like many other romantic comedies out there. For once, a character in a romantic-comedy is relatable and can poke fun at herself in her own skin, which is why the film works so well. You grasp a sense of Slate’s real stand-up sets when she’s shown doing her comedy routines, much like how FX’s Louie captures Louis C.K.’s own writing in his show. This film’s best audience would be for those who enjoy HBO’s Girls (and they’ll also appreciate Gaby Hoffmann’s casting in the film).