Sunday, October 19, 2014

Obvious Child - Review

Stand-up comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) flounders one night, largely thanks to the emotional baggage of a bad breakup, but later hits it off with a patron (Jake Lacy) over some drinks. Several weeks after the one night stand, she realizes that she's pregnant and begins to stew over both her decision for an abortion (on Valentine's Day, of course) and whether or not to tell the guy of her personal situation. At first, I was very hesitant with OBVIOUS CHILD, as it seemed to head done the usual path for all ultra-quirky indies. The stand-up comedy wasn't very funny, especially in later cutaways, and the kooky props and set-pieces such as a non-imperialistic bookstore had me irking. But once the plot officially kicks in and Donna makes some really dark jokes during her failed set, I was firmly onboard and enjoying the ride. The movie is a rom-com with a honest depiction of a semi-ordinary woman; I say semi-ordinary because I can't think of someone with a Jim Henson-like father (Richard Kind) and a professor mother (Polly Draper). See what I mean about the quirkiness? Anyway, what I mean to say is that OBVIOUS CHILD takes a more truthful look at a woman's right to choose while tangled up with a potential romantic partner than say JUNO; the scenes of Donna at Planned Parenthood are played straight and though Slate and Lacy have a growing chemistry with each other, they don't instantly hook up, not even towards the end. Even the political naysayers will have to agree that Slate delivers a magnificent performance, perfectly delivering laughs and heartbreaks with each passing scene. A refreshing indie and a great start for writer-director Gillian Robespierre.


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