Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Went to see OBVIOUS CHILD tonight with some friends, and was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing and nodding and leaving the theater completely satisfied as well as impressed. I'd heard about Jenny Slate, the star of the film, that she was the new kid on the comedy movie scene to watch. And she is. Her screen presence, at least in this flick, is charmingly vulnerable and daring at the same time.

She's helped by some great direction and writing from Gillian Robespierre (and three other women who share writing credit) and some terrific performances from the other actors including Jake Lacy as "Max" her straight man (in all senses of that term), Gaby Hoffman as her best female friend and especially Gabe Liedman as her best gay male friend and hysterically funny comedian, as well as other older more familiar actors who also put in great performances.

And yes, it is another independent movie about quirky people in their twenties and thirties [and the seemingly knee jerk elementary school lower body function jokes I generally judge as lowest common denominator distractions but she makes work better than the usual Judd Apatow routines] etc. but, and this is a big BUT, it is also a precedent-setting cinematic experience in some ways. It's almost shocking to realize that I'd never seen a film before that treated abortion like an experience that sometimes is the best choice and a part of life (at least for some) and also showed more of what that experience might be like than I'd ever seen on film.

It's a unique little flick, and Jenny Slate is a unique screen presence, though she did keep reminding me of an old and dear friend from L.A. who was acting in film and on TV in the 1980s and '90s but in roles that didn't showcase the traits she shares with Slate, or at least Slate's character in OBVIOUS CHILD, Lycia Naff, who in person is just as charming and funny and quirky and brutally honest as the character Slate plays [minus the fart etc. jokes], and attractive in very similar ways as well.

No comments: