“Obvious Child” – A Heartfelt and Hilarious Class Act

August 2, 2014

Unlike any other indie rom-com you have ever seen.

Obvious Child is the must see independent comedy of the summer. Gillian Robespierre’s debut feature had its world premier at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and it has now made its way onto the silver screen this summer.  It will be hard to write a review that is as funny and candid as actress Jenny Slate, who plays a Jewish standup comedian from Brooklyn, named Donna, but I will try.  Donna is a fearlessly unapologetic and a master at making fun of herself and her personal life.  She wears the best over-sized sweaters and her bird-like gestures only add to her quirky charm.

jenny slate, obvious child, donna stern

Still courtesy of IMDB.

On stage Donna hits all of her comedic bases: making fun of being Jewish, her panty stains, and the boringly mediocre relationship she has with her frumpy hipster boyfriend.  It seems like she is more comfortable addressing her personal problems on stage than in person.  When she calls out her humdrum relationship with her boyfriend, he breaks up with her in the unisex bathroom of the comedy club and tells her he has been cheating on her with one of her friends.

I went to see this movie with my best friend, Morgan.  We go to the movies together every week— I mean my job is to write film reviews and Morgan grew up visiting small independent theaters in Seattle. We’re the annoying duo in front of you who slurps down the last drop of their Coca-Cola (that’s me) and buys the bag of popcorn whose very width obstructs your view (Morgan) while we whisper our opinions to one another and comparisons we find to other films.  We often find ourselves (this is definitely more the case with blockbusters) leaving the theater feeling empty and disappointed.  When we left the theater after seeing Obvious Child, we were refreshed and happy, having laughed for an hour and 20 minutes and because we related to some of the characters’ struggles.

After Donna is “dumped up with”— a line she drunkenly delivers on stage during her self-medicating period, she meets this adorable guy Max (Jake Lacy).

Megan: “Oh my god he’s adorable…I just fell in love with him.”

Morgan: “Megan, you fall in love with every guy.”

Megan: “Right, but just look at that smile.”

But before Donna meets this pea-coat wearing young businessman, she was in the thick of drowning her break-up blues—one glass of red wine at a time.  I have no judgments. I have been there and I definitely felt empathy for her, but she’s so damn funny that you don’t feel sad for long.  Then along comes Max, the guy she meets at the bar after her failed and drunken comedy act.  The end up dancing uninhibitedly in his apartment to Paul Simon’s Obvious Child, which leads to wam-bam-thank-you-ma’am and three weeks later Donna realizes she’s pregnant.

The classic rom-com would have united this couple.  They would have magically fallen madly in love over the course of an afternoon, immediately marry and then have a stork deliver them their baby.  Thank God this film does not do this.  We see Donna struggle with the news of her pregnancy and hear accounts from her best friend and mother who had both had abortions.  She runs into Max and is apprehensive about getting to know him and about telling him the news.   Donna ends up telling him in her own time and in her own way, on stage.  She delivers a heart-felt and hilarious act on her pregnancy and decision.  I don’t want to spoil the ending, so should really just go out and see this film.  It will be unlike any other indie abortion rom-com you have ever seen.

Check out the Obvious Child trailer.


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