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OBVIOUS CHILD Movie Review – Irreverent Soulfulness At Its Best

Obvious Child
R....83 min.....Comedy, Romance
June 6, 2014 (LIMITED)

obvious child
© 2014 A24

WRITER/DIRECTOR: .Gillian Robespierre
obvious child
Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann
Gabe Liedman, Richard Kind, Polly Draper, David Cross
obvious child
obvious child
Grade:. ★★★★☆

SYNOPSIS: For aspiring comedian Donna Stern, everyday life as a female twenty-something provides ample material for her hysterical and relatable brand of humor. On stage, Donna is unapologetically herself, joking about topics as intimate as her sex life and as crude as her day-old underwear. But when Donna winds up unexpectedly pregnant after a one-night stand, she is forced to face the uncomfortable realities of independent womanhood for the first time. Donnaʼs drunken hookup—and epic lapse in prophylactic judgment—turns out to be the beginning of a hilarious and totally unplanned journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

“To be, or not to be [pregnant]…is [not really] the question” Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child wrestles with. Rather, the so-called “abortion comedy” focuses on Donna’s (Jenny Slate) coming to terms with the decision she’s made—despite knowing it’s the right one for her. Irreverently soulful in the best kind of way, Obvious Child explores how sometimes accepting responsibility for another life would be irresponsible—and how a correct choice is not automatically an easy one.

Those comfortable only on the PC side of the humor spectrum, beware: It’s clear from the get-go that very-little-to-none of that can be found here. Jenny Slate, Gaby Hoffmann, and Gabe Liedman own raunchy and gauche humor with a uniquely frank verve and the vocabulary of an extraordinarily dirty sailor. (Even more impressive, Obvious Child’s most tasteless jokes actually have nothing to do with abortion—a feat that is really quite remarkable when you think about it….) For those who like it down and dirty, however, “entertaining” will be an insufficient descriptor for this cinematic experience.

obvious child
Jenny Slate & Jake Lacy in Obvious Child | © 2014 A24

Blue humor is only one aspect of Obvious Child. Donna’s heartfelt journey is divided into three parts, each signaled by a stand-up act in which she explores her feels-du-jour through her own brand of comedy. Brazenly open and confident at first, Donna takes a deep dive into drunken despair after being dissed-and-dismissed by her boyfriend (hilarious drunk-dialing ensues), but ultimately pulls herself back up by the bra-straps and gets her s–t together. Donna may attempt to hide her feelings behind crude cheekiness, but there can be no doubt that Slate’s performance is bursting with wholly genuine emotion and introspection (or whether she nails each of Donna’s many blush-worthy exclamations—she does, she really does.)

Important for its lady-centric and witty-but-sincere take on a heated issue, and for establishing Jenny Slate as a leading lady who backs down from nothing I can imagine, Obvious Child is the summer’s first must-see comedy.

Obvious Child opens in New York and Los Angeles on June 6, with expanded release beginning June 13.
Click the “Get Tickets” link for a full list of dates and cities/theaters.

Get Tickets

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Featured Image: © 2014 A24

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The Author

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.