.
obvious child

Obvious Child

Jenny Slate

Directed by Gillian Robespierre
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
June 5, 2014

I could describe this one-of-a-kind whatzit as an abortion movie with jokes. I wouldn't be wrong. But I wouldn't be getting at what makes Obvious Child something uniquely special. That would be Jenny Slate, a former SNL cast member who was dead on the show after she slipped and said "fuckin" live on camera. Slate plays Donna Stern, a twentyish bookstore clerk (remember those?) who moonlights as a standup comic. Donna uses her life, including her old lovers and older underwear, as material for her act. Her boyfriend (Paul Briganti), a cheater who doesn't like his sexual habits being fodder for comedy, dumps her. To the horror of her roommate Nellie (Gaby Hoffmann, wonderful), Donna indulges in a "a little light stalking." And then, here's where the plot pivots, Donna buries her self-pity in a broken-condom one-nighter with a stranger, Max (Jake Lacy), a dude so square he wears topsiders. But Max is also, well, nice, so nice that Donna doesn't tell him at first when she tests positive on her pregnancy test.

If you're thinking you know exactly where this is heading, think again. Filmmaker Gillian Robespierre, in her feature debut, has a knack for exploding clichés and rebuilding them as truths. Donna never doubts the wisdom of having an abortion. And Max, played by Lacy with laidback charm and sneaky wit, never doubts her right to make her own decisions. By Hollywood standards, these acts count as revolutionary. Obvious Child is a romcom with a sting in its tail. And Slate is a dynamo, nailing every laugh while showing a true actor's gift for nuance. There's a moment when Max, sensing Donna's pain, asks if she wants to watch a movie. Her answer is, "always." How do you not love that or this movie?

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Whoomp! (There It Is)”

    Tag Team | 1993

    Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com