The Obvious Child - controversial new film

Jack Lacey as Max & Jenny Slate as Donna in Obvious Child

Jack Lacey as Max & Jenny Slate as Donna in Obvious Child

While we had a break in World Cup action, I caught up with a movie that's been around for a month or so and had been recommended by a couple of film buffs, whose opinions I respect. Obvious Child was an eye opener, but certainly not a movie for everyone. I've heard  it referred to as "a comedy about abortion". About abortion - yes. But, it's not a comedy. The laughs, and there a quite a few, emanate mostly from raunchy material  that will offend many adults.

The plot centers around Donna Stern, played with great insight by Jenny Slate, who works in a bookstore during the day and does stand up comedy in a smoky, thirdrate club at night. The routines center around her body parts and how they function or don't, in a number of instances. There isn't a single intimate occurrence that can escape her nightly rantings on stage.

Her life changes abruptly, however, when in quick succession she's dumped by her boy friend, is about to lose her job at the bookstore because it's closing and she discovers she's pregnant.

There's been a one night stand with this charming young man named Max, played by Jack Lacy who you may remember as Casey Marion Davenport on the ABC sitcom Better With You and Pete Miller on the last season of The Office. His casting was a stroke of genius by writer-director, Gillian Robespierre. I'm awfully glad he showed up because Donna Stern was getting on my nerves and I really didn't want to spend another hour with this mixed up, desperate women who really needed help.

Her room mate and best friend, Nellie (Gaby Hoffman); Jacob Stern, her dad (Richard Kind); Nancy Stern, her mom (Polly Draper); are all sympathetic and understanding but at a loss when it comes to concrete help.

But when Max comes in to her life, an awkward but sympathetic understanding develops and she slowly comes out of this shell that she's been hiding in. There's a one night stand and a lot of liquor that leads to unprotected sex and her pregnancy. Donna decides to have and an abortion, but can't figure out how or when to tell Max. His presence, pleasant demeanor and obvious attraction to Donna saves the story from becoming trite and banal. The remainder of the film is beautifully written. It's both funny and sad, and truly honest.

Unless you're offended by gutter language or the subject matter, you might want to see Obvious Child. It breaks some traditional examinations of the abortion issue. By the way, the title comes from a delightful Paul Simon song, which you'll hear as the closing credits roll.

Time: 83 minutes

Rating: "R" for language & sexual content

 

 

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