Release date: June 27, 2014
Written and Directed by: Gillian Robespierre
Starring: Jenny Slate
Abortion is hilarious topic, isn’t it? Okay, so maybe not. But writer and director Gillian Robespierre is hoping that a little humor can be found in the train wreck of a life that is being led by her leading lady, former SNL-er Jenny Slate, in her new abortion comedy, “Obvious Child” a refreshing look at womanhood with a sick sense of humor.
Stand up comic Donna Stern (Slate) is lazily wandering through her life. She works a dead end job at a bookstore during the days and spends nights behind the mic spinning jokes about how much her life sucks. But she never really does anything to actually improve herself or her situation. After a bad break up, she ends up having a one night stand with a guy who is a little above her and due to carelessness ends up pregnant.
But the poor girl knows her life is way too out of control to bring another life into the equation. So she decides an abortion is the best way to go. It’s not a decision that will be real popular with some audiences, especially the way she makes the decision. Thankfully, the film spares the audience the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate. Instead it focuses squarely on the impact the decision has on Donna’s life. She doesn’t tell the guy right away and it affects the way she interacts with him, to the detriment of their relationship.
Robespierre is making her feature length debut here, developing “Obvious Child” from a short film she made in 2009. It’s a fairly unapologetic look at this girl’s life and what she goes through during while she waits for the big day. Few movies have tackled abortion in this way. It plays a little bit like a wanna be “Juno” except the characters aren’t as likable. The humor gets surprisingly raunchy and sophomoric, relying heavily on vagina and fart jokes.
Despite the sometimes uneven script, Jenny Slate is really quite good, even if her character isn’t all that redeeming. No matter, she has enough charisma to keep you engaged into finding out how her situation plays out, although some are sure to disagree with the extreme levels of immaturity she goes about it with. Jake Lacy (The Office) plays Max, the father who doesn’t know he’s the father. They have a weird chemistry that kinda works.
The question is are audiences ready for a romantic abortion comedy? Maybe. Maybe not. Sadly, the movie is bound to ruffle more feathers than it should. But then again, the movie isn’t for everyone. Slate is fantastic, but the vulgar humor ultimately makes for an odd mix and takes away from what is for the most part a honest, poignant and refreshingly realistic tale of womanhood.
Running time: 84 minutes.
Rating: R for language and sexual content