OBVIOUS CHILD

20140703-150939-54579733.jpg A funny movie about abortion. Yeah, it sounds ridiculous. But, OBVIOUS CHILD is more than just a comedy about abortion. It is a romantic comedy, a story about growing up, about dealing with parents and expectations and living your life on your terms. That’s a lot to cram into 90 minutes, but director Gillian Robespierre navigates it with tremendous heart and success. But the shining star that ties it all together is its star, Jenny Slate. She is Donna. A late 20’s stand-up comic who is working her stuff out at a Brooklyn club while working at a bookstore to pay the rent. Her boyfriend breaks up with her, sending her on a spiral of despair, stalking, blaming, obsessing and drinking. One night, after a hilariously awful stand-up set, she gets plastered with a friend and fellow comic and a nice guy she just met at the bar. They wind up at his place and in bed. The next morning she wakes up in his bed and sneaks out. A few weeks pass and she realizes (and confirms) that she is pregnant. Donna immediately decides to have an abortion, but must wait a few weeks until it is safe. The movie fills those weeks with Donna’s anxiety over her decision. But, I never got the impression she was second guessing herself. She is worried about her parents and what they think. She is worried about how to tell the guy. She is worried about her future and what this all might mean. The meat of the movie is her turning these problems over and over in her head. OBVIOUS CHILD has so many meanings here. It’s obvious Slate is with child. It’s obvious she is a child. You draw your own analogies. Slate is raw and funny and sympathetic. She really pulls this off. I’m not sure it would be the same movie with a different star (which is rank speculation considering she was one of the film’s producers). Slate has great timing and is a wonderfully physical comedian. I hope she makes more films like this. Smart romantic comedies are so hard to find. Most women are relegated to being playthings in Judd Apatow-type movies. Slate is better than that. She has a wonderfully bright future as a leading woman. Go see OBVIOUS CHILD because it’s very good, you’ll love it because of Jenny Slate. — Alan Yudman

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