June 24, 2014

Podcast Episode 19: Jenny Slate Shines In OBVIOUS CHILD

"Your head is spinning because you played Russian roulette with your vagina."
It's a hell of a thing, seeing people you know in real life appearing on the giant silver screen of your local multiplex.  For me it's always a little bittersweet, as it's a sharp reminder of my past life in the entertainment industry, but that doesn't mean I'm incapable of appreciating the success of my peers.  That appreciation comes even easier when it's a movie as good as Obvious Child, in which my former high school speech teammate Jenny Slate plays Donna, a struggling Brooklyn comedian who loses both her boyfriend and her day job, only to inadvertently get knocked up by arguably the nicest human on planet Earth.  Slate is terrifically funny as always, but she also imbues Donna with a tremendous sense of heart and grace.  There's a reason that multiple reviews have labeled this as a star-making turn for her; it's not easy to be graceful while calling someone "pee-farter".

What sets Obvious Child apart from films like Knocked Up or Juno is the no-nonsense approach it takes to the subject matter.  Donna quickly decides that an abortion is the only appropriate course of action and from that point on there's no emotional hand-wringing or second-guessing.  Abortion is presented as what it is, a perfectly safe and reasonable response that's been undertaken by millions of American women.  Donna's decision certainly isn't humdrum, but it's also not "the most important thing that will define her life forever."  It's dramatic and emotional without being a statement on her personhood or the morality of our society at large.  In that way Obvious Child feels incredibly refreshing, taking all the bluster and posturing out of a hot button political issue and instead focusing on the human reality, reminding us that there are real people at the heart of the matter that are too often overlooked.

Bart, Jamie and I discuss the many pros and cons of the film in the latest episode of the podcast, along with a brief trip down the rabbit hole of hilarity that is Movieguide.org's staid Christian film reviews.  We also ponder the implications of Rian Johnson taking over the new Star Wars trilogy, celebrate dodging the bullet of Father Of The Bride 3 and lament yet another pitch for the ill-advised Ghostbusters 3.  We forgot to talk about it at the end of the recording, but next week we'll be tackling the latest Transformers film.  Hopefully we'll make it through the whole thing without gauging our eyes out.


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