Before Knocked-Up hit theatres, everyone was wondering if it would surpass the surprise hit of 2005, The 40 Year-Old Virgin. As no surprise, not only did it meet those expectations, but exceeded them, as well. Grossing almost $150 million, this was a runaway hit for the summer. And why shouldn’t it? Not only is the movie funny, but it’s heartfelt, adult, and very emotional. It’s a very true movie down to the core, and the premise is sold perfectly by the flawless cast. The movie is funny, yes, but it also has heart and deserves to be celebrated. Thankfully, Universal recognized this and packed the Knocked-Up: Unrated 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD release with an enormous amount of extras. Now, onward to the synopsis!
On the heels of 2005’s blockbuster The 40-Year-Old Virgin, writer/director/producer Judd Apatow again mines hilarity from a relatably human experience in a comedy about a one-night stand with unexpected consequences. Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy) joins Virgin alums Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill for a comic look about the best thing that will ever ruin your best-laid plans: parenthood. Allison Scott (Heigl) is an up-and-coming entertainment journalist whose 24-year-old life is on the fast track. But it gets seriously derailed when a drunken one-nighter with slacker Ben Stone (Rogen) results in an unexpected pregnancy. A couple of drinks and one wild night later, they’ve got nine confusing months to figure it all out.
One of the best reviewed films of the summer, I’m not sure what I could say to sell you on seeing this movie that you likely haven’t already heard before. I guess the main problem I have with the movie is not with the movie itself, but with the odd complaint a few critics used against. And that problem? That lead actor Rogen is just not handsome enough for lead actress Heigl. Personally, this is a complaint I just don’t understand. Both leads are good looking and a relationship between the two is entirely plausible. Heigl is a knock-out, yes, but Rogen isn’t too bad himself. He’s your average guy and, in the end, that helps the movie’s relatability. If anything, Apatow made the perfect casting choice in both the leads. A knock-out girl and a great average joe (not that I mean to insult Rogen) thrown into a jolting predicament.
Apatow, thankfully, grounds that predicament in reality. He gives us a very honest look at how the events would unfold, with all the awkward moments thrown in. And, in these akward moments, it would be very easy for us to loose our connection with these characters, but then Apatow does something brilliant. During this time, we watch the two leads not only bond with each other, but with other characters as well. Rogen’s character starts to build a tight friendship with Rudd’s character at the same time he and Heigl’s character struggle to make their relationship work. As we watch all these characters bond together, it’s impossible not to get absorbed and become totally comfortable with them. This, of course, works to the film’s advantage as there are a few moments where, in a lesser movie, we’d come to hate to characters. There are some scenes which play out very harsh as characters break out into fights and it gets difficult to watch. It’s like being invited over to a couple’s house, only to sit there as they fight for two hours. It’s uncomfortable, but you stay and hope for the best because, in the end, you care for these people.
And yes, you will come to care for the characters in this movie, so much so that you’ll want to learn more about their lives. There’s already a hint of that with the subplot of Heigl’s sister (Leslie Mann) and brother-in-law (Paul Rudd), a battling older couple trying to deal with a rough marriage. This subplot helps drive the main story and help carry the movie’s theme along. Sure this battling couple could be how Rogen and Heigl’s characters will end up in a few years, but it does help provide both side of the story and how love, over time, changes. The love is there, yes, but it takes a new pedestal as time passes. That’s a nice subplot which drives the main focus of the movie, the lead actress being unexpectedly knocked-up.
From start to finish, this movie is a knock-out. It’s a two-hour exploration at relationships and their evolution from the first date to a life-long commitment, all deftly handled by director Judd Apatow. Not only does he give this movie an honest feel, but he also peppers the movie with great one-liners and observations. It seems like he can turn any person or situation into an object of ridicule. Here, for example, a host of celebrities find themselves in the receiving end, thanks to the E! Network setting. But, he also knows when to add a poignant moment or two along the way, whether it’s a throwaway comment by one of the characters, like Rudd’s “I wish I could enjoy anything the way my kids enjoy bubbles” line, or the honest reaction to Heigl’s discovery of her pregnancy.
If you couldn’t tell by my nearly illegible ramblings, this is a movie that should be seen. If you somehow missed in the theatre, now is the opportune time to check it out on DVD and HD-DVD. And, yes, there will be many different formats for your choosing. Knocked Up is available as a two-disc unrated special edition, a one-disc widescreen unrated edition, a one-disc full-frame unrated edition, a widescreen rated edition, and on HD-DVD. Five whole versions to choose from, but, of course, the version you want to go for is the Knocked Up: Two-Disc Unrated Special Edition. And the extras are staggering. Much like Universal’s release for The 40-Year Old Virgin, either the one-disc or the recent double-dip, Universal has packed on the extras here. Reviewed below is the Knocked Up: Two-Disc Unrated Special Edition.
The packaging is simple, but effective. The cover art for the actual DVD is the theatrical art with an added red border. While my copy had no slipcover, an elaborate slipcover is available in stores. The cardboard thick cover, similar to the recent The 40-Year Olf Virgin – Double Your Pleasure release, shows more stills from the movie and highlights the bonus features on the set. The actual Amaray case easily slides out of the package. It’s great packaging and really makes the special edition stand out from the one disc regular release. If you live in Canada the packaging features both English and French text.
Where to begin with all this bonus content? Well, why don’t we start at the beginning, shall we? The first disc includes a full-length commentary featuring Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and Saturday Night Live cast member Bill Hader. Also included is roughly thirty minutes worth of deleted scenes and extended, alternate takes of sequences in the movie. In addition to outtakes, there’s even more deleted material to be found elsewhere on the disc. Line-O-Rama is a collection alternate line readings and improvisations from the movie. Next up is the Gag Reel, the standard collection of tripping, line flubs, and cracking up. Next up is Topless Scene: Web Design Company, an alternate version of a scene where Seth Rogen doesn’t wear a shirt. There’s also a short featurette on the movie’s roller coaster scene and a look at the movie’s score. There’s also a short joke featuette where Universal sends in a new director replace Apatow.
The second disc features, naturally, much more special features. There’s many, many more deleted and extended scenes to be found here, revealing a lot more about the movie and some dropped plotlines. There’s also another “Topless” extra and a couple more gag reels. The first of the three Joe Henry and Loudon Wainwright III music videos also appear on the first disc while the second disc houses the other two.
After that is a series of video diaries by Judd Apatow, following day-to day shenanigans on the movie set. There’s also Stripper Confidential, focusing on filming the stripper sequence. Raw Footage shows the uncut filming of the Geisha House and Swingers scenes. Following that are Beard-o-Rama, Kids on the Loose, First Sex on Camera, and The Kuni Files. Much like the The 40 Year-Old Virgin release, the “Rama” docs pay homage to aspects of the film, like Martin Starr’s beard for the movie and comedian/doctor Kuni’s role in the film. Kids on the Loose” is an outtake reel of Judd’s kids messing around on set. “First Sex on Camera interview with Rogen and Hill about filming their first on-screen sex scenes.
Much like the first disc, we get a few more fake documentaries here, too. The first is Finding Ben Stone, a fake documentary where Apatow auditions a host of actors to play Rogen’s part (including Arrested Development’s Michael Cera). The next fake documentary, Gummy: The Sixth Roommate, follows the apparently dropped character Gummy, played by David Krumholtz (Serenity). We follow him around as he laments on being dropped from the film.
Rounding the disc off is Katherine Heigl’s audition tape and an easter egg that’s worth finding. The easter egg is a great call back to the “gay” gag from The 40 Year-Old Virgin.
With an enormous amount of extras complimenting a great main feature, it goes without saying that Knocked Up comes Highly Recommended. Not only is it a hilarious movie, but it’s also heartfelt and poignant. It knows how to stay grounded to honestly present a great story with a superb cast. It’s a no-brainer to go with the Knocked Up: Two-Disc Unrated Special Edition if you’re a fan of bonus materials. The two-set has an enormous amount of additional material not found in the single disc release. If you’re just after the movie itself, the one-disc unrated widescreen is likely the way to go, but if you have a few extra dollars, I really recommend picking up the two-disc edition.
Knocked Up is available in separate rated, unrated, and 2-Disc Special Edition releases . Knocked-Up is now available to own on DVD and HD-DVD.