Intended for the enjoyment of the present-day youth generation, the 2007 comedy film Knocked Up deals with more than just comedic issues. Technically introduced as a romantic comedy, this film serves more to its comedic orientation. With awkward romance and stoner mannerisms, the laughs are plentiful for the intentional audience of Knocked Up. However, as the audience is served its fill of laughter, issues are presented that rarely grace the silver screen. The director of this film, Judd Apatow, utilizes his dominion and influence over the audience to introduce the dominant ideology of Knocked Up. As seen in his previous film, The 40 Year Old Virgin, it is evident that the good guy can get the girl and in doing so may come along some unexpected complications. Apatow’s use of comedy in this media context to present such complications leads the audience to conclude that they too should adapt to his alternative approach to unplanned pregnancies in this present day.
Set in present day 2007, Knocked Up centers around two adults in their mid 20s who could not be any more different. After a work promotion, the beautiful, career-minded Alison (played by Katherine Heigl) celebrates at the club where she meets reckless, unmotivated Ben (played by Seth Rogen) and the rest of his stoner friends. As one drink leads to another, Alison and Ben wake up to each other in bed the next morning. As a result, eight weeks later, Alison finds that she is pregnant with a slob who disgusted her when seen through sober eyes. Despite her unforgiving views of Ben, Alison affirms her decision to keep the child and to begin the journey that will bring these two unlikely partners together. Ben and Alison’s worlds are turned upside down as each deal with the responsibility of parenthood. Alison may have put her progressing career at stake and discreetly hides her pregnancy. All the while, Ben struggles to even pick up a career, as he must turn away from his lackadaisical lifestyle and friends. Knocked Up documents the turn of events that have resulted from Ben and Alison’s irresponsible decision to engage in unprotected sex.
As an appeal to today’s youth, the time period of this movie is set in present-day and demonstrates the hardships of unprotected, casual sex. The character of Alison is presented as a hardworking young woman, making her easily accessible to the younger demographic of women who are also on the same career-minded path. On the other hand, Ben is presented as a lazy immature guy who occupies his time ripping hits from his bong and surfing the net for soft-core porn. This character representation makes Ben accessible to the younger demographic of men and women who not only perhaps relate to Ben, but also value the comedic worth of such a character. Apatow deliberately contrasts these two characters and brings them into a mutual complication that seemingly brings them together. Apatow’s contrasting characters make the movie relatable to two totally different audiences. Furthermore, integrating aspects of cult stoner movies and aspects of traditional romantic-comedy movies, this film engages audiences from both types of films. Usually of a younger age, these audiences are exposed to the alternative views that Apatow presents regarding the pro-life choice Alison makes after her one night stand. Knocked Up entertains audiences while introducing to them certain thematic values that play a significant role in the ideology conveyed from the creators of this movie.
The creators of Knocked Up may have produced an apparently crass and vulgar movie, with explicit sexual scenes and language, however they also developed some excellent moral value. Perhaps the most admirable is the discussion of abortion in the film, which is immediately shot down. Receiving praise from Christian groups for its pro-life choice, Knocked Up advocates making a relationship work between mother...
Cited: 1) White, Mimi. “Ideological Analysis and Television.” In Robert C. Allen (ed.), Channels of Discourse, Reassembled: Television and Contemporary Criticism (second edition). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992: pp. 161-202.
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