Obvious Child seems to be a typical romantic comedy about boy meets girl, girl gets pregnant and girl spends the whole movie deciding whether to keep it or not. But it brings something to the table that most “chick flicks” don’t: crude humor out of the mouths of women. This film relies heavily on Comedienne Jenna Slate’s wildly funny jabs at life and relationships and gives her a great opportunity to shine. Without overdoing on the humor, she brings this funny character to screen and also manages to successfully blend in serious elements to introduce, as the title suggests, a very obvious child.
Slate plays Donna Stern, a Sarah Silverman like character who is a comedienne for a local club and works for a “non imperialist” use bookstore. The movie opens up with her talking about women’s flatulence and dirty underwear on stage so we already know what sort of character we’re dealing with less than a minute into the film. After being dumped by her boyfriend (Paul Briganti) and losing her job, Donna gets into a mopey depression and seeks guidance from her divorced parents (Richard Kind and Polly Draper) and best friend (Gaby Hoffman). After a disastrous act, Donna comes across Max (Jake Lacy), an attractive but awkward business grad student. It doesn’t take many drinks for Donna to realize that he is the perfect rebound, despite not being her type at all. However, after a few weeks and some breast pain, Donna soon finds out that she is pregnant and not feeling ready to be a mom. She rushes to Planned Parenthood and schedules an abortion on the irony filled day of February 14th.
This film would have not been as great if it weren’t for the dialogue and Slate’s delivery. Using phrases like “pee-pee missiles” to describe eyes or saying crocs are as soft as “angels’ titty skins” are just a few examples of Donna’s hilarious character. And the best part is that it doesn’t even feel forced. It’s said so naturally that it felt like there wasn’t a script at all, but like it was improv. This was my first time seeing Slate but I can imagine that this isn’t her first time being around this kind of comedy.
This film is very much driven by the women of this film, no matter how small of a role. Even though this is about Donna and Max and their decision on what to do with the baby, Max is very much a side character. In fact, a lot of the chemistry between Donna and the men in her life seem to be lacking. Despite knowing that Max and Donna are supposed to be polar opposites, it would have been nice to see a decent spark between them. Yeah, he was the father of the child so he could have paid child support but their attempt at a romantic relationship was not believable. Not even her relationship with her father (Richard Kind) went very far. It felt that they had a very nice relationship at first but then he randomly disappeared from the whole film after a couple of scenes and then it focused on her seeking solace from her tough loving mother (Polly Draper). The only people who she really shined on screen with were her roommate Nellie (Gaby Hoffman) and her hilarious gay friend Joey (Gabe Liedman).
For the whole film, the audience is constantly asking themselves “Will she, Won’t she?” concerning the abortion. I found the ending of the film to be a nice touch. Some people will like it and some might hate it but isn’t that like all movies starring a pregnant woman? Pregnancy plot aside, this film is hilarious and I loved to see a woman in a comedic role where it shows that they have a dirty side.