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Sundance '14 Review: OBVIOUS CHILD

Writer/Director: Gillian Robespierre

Cast: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, David Cross, Gabe Liedman, Richard Kind

Performances

In Obvious Child, former SNL cast member Jenny Slate shines as a struggling stand-up comic whose life unravels when her boyfriend brutally dumps her for one of her friends. Things get worse when she has a rebound one-night-stand and becomes pregnant. Slate is known mostly for her often over-the-top characters on SNL and Kroll Show. In this film, however, she gives a wonderful and grounded performance, emerging as a relatable and irresistibly likable leading-lady.

Jake Lacy plays the straight-laced guy Slate has a one night stand with who is unaware that she is pregnant as he continues to pursue her. He plays to type as the nice guy the girl should obviously end up with — pretty much the exact same role he played on The Office -- but he’s damn good at it, and his undeniable chemistry with Slate is where the movie will charm audiences.

Story and Direction

Despite having a lot of heart and the thoroughly enjoyable performances from its entire cast, the film would have benefitted from a streamlined script and fewer, more developed supporting characters. David Cross’ short but memorable appearance in the film could have carried more weight and been more integral to the story had the comedy club where Slate performs been the central setting of the film. Instead, we spend quite a bit of time with unimportant side characters and in the closing bookstore where Slate works (being broke, cheated on, and an unplanned pregnancy weren’t big enough blows?).

Similar To

Although it doesn’t stack the laughs quite as high as an Apatow film, it’s totally like Bridesmaids meets Funny People.

Chances You'll See It in Theaters

For the sake of getting Slate more lead roles, I hope this gets a wide release. At the time of writing this review I don't believe it has been acquired yet.

Official Synopsis:

Donna Stern is a 27-year-old Brooklyn comedian whose unapologetically lewd, warmhearted wit is pretty irresistible with audiences. When she gets heartlessly “dumped up with” by her two-timing boyfriend, Donna plunges into some light stalking and heavy moping. Hitting a serious low point, she performs a dreary set of break-up vengeance and Holocaust jokes and drunkenly falls into bed with a nice young professional named Max—not remotely her type. A few weeks later, condoms be damned, she’s pregnant. Now Donna, incapable of telling anything but the naked truth when she’s on stage, will resort to any means to avoid telling Max the score. As her date with Planned Parenthood draws near, she must confront her doubts and fears like never before. 

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