Gillian Robespierre may have been inspired by Louis CK’s stand up comedian’s “life on display” award winning formula in her film Obvious Child which she both directed and co-wrote. The movie stars comedian Jenny Slate (as Donna) and actor Jake Lacy (as Max). Although I enjoyed the flick as a whole, overly antiseptic aspects mixed oddly with quasi corny romance kept me from going full term, so to speak, in my adulation.
In any art form, pushing the envelope is necessary to make an indelible mark. And if anything, this new century will be remembered for the ‘killing sacred cow’ genres; Tarantino, Jack Ass’s Tremaine, Sasha Baron Cohen’s movies just to name a few, not to mention Stone and Parker’s musical The Book of Mormon.
And while I’m very much pro-choice, knowing that quality of life (loved and cared for the premiums) equals the overall peace and joy on earth, AND that I am saddened by the recent Supreme Court decision severing a recent Massachusetts law that banned protesters within 35 feet of abortion clinics, I feel Obvious Child may have taken a too clinical approach for a rom-com.
At times, I felt like I was watching a really, really well done how-to video: here’s how you perform a pregnancy test, here’s how you talk to a doctor, here’s how you tell your mother, here’s how you lay on the table.
The characters were all likeable, though realism was stretched a bit when Jenny’s mother (played by Polly Draper) does an about face from austere critical mom to an understanding touchy feely one.
But let’s be positive. The drunken fun of Donna and Max dancing in varying states of disrobing to Paul Simon’s song “Obvious Child” was suffused with palpable joy. The scene where Donna goes to a fellow comedian’s (played by Dave Cross) loft and is consequently hit on after he changes into a hideous cowpoke patterned tank top is also a stitch.
“Obvious Child” is definitely worth seeing for those moments and because it has done what few, if any, has attempted, to build a story around a sensible choice, that has before this film, been a woman’s shameful secret.