Runtime: 1hr. 24mins.
Google Play, Amazon Instant
Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen. It takes a special one, or at least a different style to stand out. Obvious Child is a special one. It's an indie that's genuinely funny, and edgier than most.
Donna Stern (Jenny Slate), is a stand up comic, who works at a failing book store on the side. Or maybe it's the other way around? Donna's not any more certain than we are. The beginning of the film has Donna doing her stand-up routine, which involves telling the crowd intimate details about her life. Those details range from her underwear, to having sex with her boyfriend. These jokes set up the type of humor we're in store for throughout the film. The boyfriend, who was in the crowd, doesn't take it well, but it's just pilling on. He breaks up with her right after her she gets off stage, in order to date a mutual friend.
While the film doesn't really question the morality of abortion, it makes it abundantly clear that Donna is not ready to have a child. Aside from her childish behavior, she's also in a bad place financially. She can't even afford the $500 for the procedure. Unlike what you might have expected from a romantic comedy involving this subject, we're never in suspense as to what she will do.
Slate is known for her role as the offensively annoying sister of one of the most annoying sitcom characters ever in Parks and Rec. Here she's almost as obnoxious, but far more likable. She gives an excellent, natural performance that makes her believable in both her emotional scenes, and ones where she's on a potty-mouthed rant. And those rants stay believable as a part of her personality rather than a comedic trope. If 30 is the new 20, then this 20 something is as mature as someone in their teens afterall. It's a unique opportunity for Slate to show off her range, and acting prowess. Lacy, on the other hand, plays Max as the low key guy in need of breaking out of his shell. A shell Donna is more capable of breaking.
It's a subject matter that could divide its audience, but Robespierre doesn't shy away from it. It's likely to hit home with plenty as well. One of Donna's friends tries to encourage her by saying, "you are unapologetically yourself on that stage, that's why people love you." This film feels "unapologetically real." The characters, the performances, and the way Robespierre navigates from start to finish makes this a romantic comedy unlike most others. Futhermore, it's a well written film that'll reignite your interest in this tired genre. We'll have to keep an eye out for her next project.