31st Aug2014

‘Obvious Child’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Jenny Slate, Jack Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, Gabe Liedman, David Cross, Richard Kind, Polly Draper, Paul Briganti, Cindy Cheung, Stephen Singer | Written and Directed by Gillian Robespierre


Donna Stern (Slate) is an unapologetic stand up comedian who managed to get dumped, fired and pregnant in quick succession. Better at cracking jokes about flatulence and the contents of her knickers, Donna has a lot of growing up to do. So, after her one night stand with a guy not even remotely her type, she decides to make a choice most responsible to her future. With the support of her friends, Donna decides to have an abortion, and learns what it is like to be brave, honest and vulnerable in real life, not just on stage.

Obvious Child is a big fan of brutally honest comedy. Not the ‘Oh he slipped over on a banana skin that is obviously hilarious so you should laugh!’ comedy, but the discussing of bowel movements, urinating-on-the-street-and-giggling type of comedy which doesn’t flinch at shocking or disgusting you. I wasn’t sure about the style when I started watching the film. I wasn’t used to it and I was quite shocked the film throws you right into it without warning. After a while though, I must say it grew on me and weirdly worked despite the film being about the quite a serious and hotly debated topic of abortion. If you are ‘pro-life’, you might find it difficult to enjoy this film, which takes a firm stance to the opposite for the majority and, although the humour can be a bit childish and very silly, the film does deal with the topic in a mature and honest way which I found to be very pure, real and touching at times.

The main success of Obvious Child, to me, revolved around Jenny Slate who plays Donna in such a way that you can sympathise with her and laugh at her at the same time. She delivers a very believable performance which at times had me choking up (in a manly way of course…), as Donna tries to deal with the situation that life has handed her. This is balanced by the relationship between Donna and Max (Lacy) which brings the romance, in a cute, squirmy and funny form. Almost polar opposites, the characters flirt and joke their way through awkward moments and you can’t help but be left smiling every time they meet, which is almost a must for a romantic comedy.

Overall, although I do not count myself as a fan of romantic comedies, I count myself as a fan of Obvious Child. From a reluctant start, I found myself feeling completely the opposite at the end and would definitely wholeheartedly suggest that you watch this film if you get the chance.


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