HD DVD Title: Knocked Up – Unrated and Unprotected (Combo)
Rated: Unrated, Theatrically R
Screen format: 1080P 1.85:1 HD VC-1 Encoded
First theatrical release: June 1, 2007
Previously released on DVD/BluRay: Day and Date with Widescreen DVD
Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Martin Starr
Sound Formats: English & French Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Length: 2 Hours 13 Minutes
Subtitles: English, French
Writer/Director Judd Apatow continues his streak of outrageous comedies with Knocked Up, a film that follows likeable slacker Ben Stone's (Rogen) adventure to fatherhood when he unbelievably scores with and unwittingly impregnates rising TV star Allison Scott (Heigl). Allison and Ben couldn’t be further apart as far as interests, lifestyles, and ‘hotness’, but Allison has decided to keep the child and Ben mans up to the challenge, attempting to win Allison over in the process. Along the way Ben and Allison have to dig into who they really are and what matters to each of them. While this is serious stuff the laughs are nearly endless as Ben muddles through life unashamedly.
Of course these two don’t live in a vacuum, despite Allison’s recent success she is still living with sister Debbie (Mann) and brother in law Pete (Rudd) and their children, and while Debbie is full of advice, thing’s aren’t as rosy in her own life as she wants to think. Ben’s crew, while less successful, currently is full of schemers and dreamers who also happen to be stoners and web heads. The two worlds collide with Ben and Allison at the center of it all and the fate of their unborn child in the balance.
The fear of pregnancy is certainly one of the biggest issues in most young adult’s lives, and KU gives an interesting ride through the challenges and decisions that come with an unexpected pregnancy. While it was never preachy about it, the ‘health class’ type videos that accompany a few scenes make a point of showing how early in development the fetal heart beat can be detected and other milestones that happened long before Allison makes her personal decision. Obviously this is a very polarizing issue and that KU manages to handle it without making judgments about any of the possible outcomes while celebrating the results of the couple’s choices, makes this a pretty remarkable film.
Sound Quality: 2/5
Frankly, Knocked Up’s soundtrack was as front-focused as a film could be. Except in the few nightclub scenes I never once felt like anything but the front left and right were firing and the Bass was lifeless outside the bars as well. This is a bit of a shame since the soulful soundtrack has some real gems, both in the commercial tracks that were chosen (including Old Dirty Bastard, the B-52s and Sublime) in addition to some really heartfelt additions from Loudon Wainwright. Other similar budget comedies (even those from Apatow) have had much more dynamic mixes and this one doesn’t deliver. Of course the music and dialogue that is there is just pitch perfect but I expected a lot more here.
Visual Quality: 3.5/5
Visually KU is a step up at least from the audio side of things, delivering a sharp and moderately colorful transfer of a well shot film. Noise, grain and other artifacts are all nearly nonexistent, and I never noted a single pop or scratch of any kind of print damage. Detail level is consistent with what I expected but this is not any kind of reference material. It is subtle, sweet and exactly how I envision a theatrical print of this movie would have looked, if not better.
Extra Features: 5+/5
First, let me let out a big “NICE JOB Universal” for their improvements to the U-control Features. They haven’t gotten it EXACTLY right but they made two monster improvements: first they now allow you to hit one button and all Picture in Picture segments will now automatically display without further user input; second the menu selection allows you to see which chapters have which U-control features. Since this film has PiP for every scene and no other U-control content anywhere else, this was not a huge deal but I see this as being VERY helpful going forward. The PiP segments I watched were as good as or better than most behind the scenes interviews and they mostly focused on Apatow and the cast.
For those who want more in depth on this film, it’s here in droves between these segments and a full commentary track. There are also deleted scenes and some extended and revised versions of existing scenes, and its clear that the editor had good sense on what was actually used in the film. A collection of alternate takes on key comedic lines returns, this was one of my favorite features in The 40 Year Old Virgin and it scores big time here. There’s also a gag real of flubbed lines and on set hi-jinx. There’s also an extended topless scene which isn’t as great as it sounds and a significantly extended scene where Ben’s friend Jonah has a special moment with Allison.
One downer on the extras front is a really terrible segment that has Apatow battling with director of Capote, Bennet Miller. This obviously fake segment was just entirely cheesy and should have been left off the film. Other segments had Apatow talking about using his own family in the film and those had a lot more genuine feel to them but this one was just bad.
Finally there are some web enable contents which I haven’t gotten to yet, which apparently contain mostly links to other Universal film clips and the ability to share your favorite scenes with friends, something which was demoed to us at the EMA show on another disk, and which I consider a colossal waste of time and money.
Overall: 4/5 (not an average)
Despite the downside of a disappointing surround sound mix, this disk has everything else going for it. Knocked Up itself is one of those rare films that are lewd enough and funny enough to satisfy all of the guys watching while sweet and heartfelt enough to appeal to all of the women, and the subject matter is compelling, as it is definitely something that most have had to at least contemplate and fear, if not directly experience. Visually the disk nails all that the film stock is capable of, and the sheer volume of extras that Universal has piled in is really impressive, and they are quite good to boot. If Anchorman, Accepted or The Forty Year Old Virgin was your kind of film, you will find KU to be just what the (neo natal) doctor ordered.