Obvious Child – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

After a rough breakup, a young comic has a one night stand with a nice boy. Thing is, with them not using condoms she ends up pregnant, and she is not looking to have a baby.

Review (with Spoilers)

After seeing Jenny Slate in House of Lies, and unfortunately in The Longest Week as well, seeing an Obvious Child trailer months back made me think “I know her from somewhere!” But with Slate having never been in a lead role, outside of doing short films, and possibly on Married, the question does become: Does she make a good lead actress for a movie? Well, look below and find out.

Characters & Story

Donna (Jenny Slate) is a comic who is like a less offensive Sarah Silverman. However, when it comes to poop jokes she is right there with her. But while most of her jokes deal with her opinions on her body, it also deals with her general life. And with her bringing the topic of her boyfriend into an act, he not only breaks up with her but tells her he is cheating on her. Thus sending Donna into a downward spiral until she meets Max (Jake Lacy). The two hit it off quickly for he accepts Donna’s eccentricities, and he is probably one of the nicest guys to take interest in her. Though with sex coming before confirmation of love, and a condom not being involved in their would-be one-night stand, she ends up pregnant. Something which she doesn’t plan to be for long since while she likes Max, she isn’t ready to ask him to be a father, much less even dare become a mother for she is in no way ready. But with her having to wait a few weeks to have an abortion, and Max being too sweet to let go, she carries the secret of her future plans and tries her best to try to reveal them and hopefully not lose him in the process.

Praise

Without a doubt, this is a very odd movie. For with Donna being like Sarah Silverman light, and Slate finding this odd balance of making Donna not the most girly girl out there, yet still maintaining some sense of appeal, you have to really applaud Slate and writer/ director Gillian Robespierre. For while easily Donna could have become off-putting with poop jokes and this sense that she is immature, somehow Slate crafts the character to not be a woman-child, but someone still trying to become comfortable with what it means to be an adult.

Of which, finding a job, dealing with your parents as people, dealing with heartbreak, and many other topics she deals with in such a way which surprisingly didn’t become annoying. Which I say is surprising for if it was any other actress, something tells me Donna would have been overacted to the point where she would have come off more as a caricature than perhaps an actual human being.

As for the story, it feels unique in some ways and sort of like Louie in others. Though I think what really helps it stand out is that it has a female lead, is all from her point of view, and while Donna has a cute romance with Max, it isn’t some usual romance movie dealing with two models falling in love, but normal people, with normal people faults and eccentricities, falling for each other and no grand gestures being involved. Just the simple everyday things people do to try to show they care.

Criticism

But, while I like Donna as a character, and how Slate plays her, I must say hardly any of the jokes in this film were funny. Which is kind of sad, and bad, since Donna is supposed to be a comedian. Also, the supporting roles of Nellie (Gaby Hoffmann) and Joey (Gabe Liedman) just didn’t click with me. For while you would expect a person like Donna to have odd friends, with them not having much of a story, nor life, outside of supporting Donna, they came off sort of boring. Add while her father Jacob (Richard Kind) was three kinds of weird, and her mother Nancy (Polly Draper) was intriguing, in terms of her relationship with Donna, neither really get much in the way of development. Which is especially unfortunate when you consider Nancy and Jacob were married, something which, due to the stark differences in their personalities, is something you really want explored.

Overall: TV Viewing

While I like the film, and can’t quickly think of anything too similar to it, something about it just doesn’t strongly push me to thinking it was worth seeing. Be it the fact it had weak comedy, or just because it doesn’t feel like it sets a standard, I just can’t bring myself to saying this is worth seeing. So, without it having a real strong reason to be seen, I’m labeling this as TV Viewing. Though if it had better stand up from Donna, and was funny throughout, I think then it would have been Worth Seeing.

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