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June 04, 2007 - Image 9

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-06-04

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Monday, June 4, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

nrtspage@michigandaily.com
734-763-0379

Far from
baby blues

By PAUL TASSI
DailyArts Writer
It's a strange feeling to have these
days, walking out of a theater feel-
ing satisfied. Not very often after a
movie can you
say you've just ****
seen an original
classic instead of Knocked Up
yetanotherover- At theShowcase
hyped bomb. an Quast6
"Knocked Up" andQuality
is easily the best Universal
film of the year
so far and gives us a much-needed
reminder that there are still smart
people in Hollywood who realize
that more often than not, talent -
not money - makes great movies.
The faithful have known for a
long time that Judd Apatow is bril-
liant. His teen comedies "Freaks and
Geeks" and "Undeclared" earned
critical praise and cult followings on
television, yet were both axed after
one season. Apatow then turned to
film and released last year's sleeper
hit "The 40-Year Old-Virgin," star-
ring Steve Carell, also known as
regional manager of Dunder Miff-
lin on TV's "The Office." Now with
"Knocked Up" Apatow has topped

himself - and almost all other com-
edies in recent memory - and he has
done it with a cast of unknowns and
a writing staff of close friends.
Ben Stone (Seth Rogen, "The
40- Year-Old Virgin") is a chubby
pothead whose day job is doing
"research" for his nude celebrity
website with his stoner friends.
Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl, TV's
"Grey's Anatomy") is a stunning
beauty who works at E! News pre-
venting Ryan Seacrest from flip-
ping out on set. After she lands a
big promotion she heads to a club to
celebrate. She meets Ben, and after
a night of countless Coronas and
dice-throwing dance moves, Alison
thinks him sweet enough for a com-
mitment-free roll in the hay. Even if
Ben does feel the need to point out
the obvious: "You're prettier than
me."
Eight weeks and 20 home preg-
nancy tests later, Alison realizes
she's, well, knocked up. When she
decides to let Ben know and his
first two words are a disbelieving
"Fuck off," she begins to question if
that was the right way to go. But the
movie dismisses the idea of abortion
promptly (though not politically)
and the two polar opposites try des-

"Just think, in 30 years your child might look exactly like this."

perately hard to make things work
between them. What ensues is not
only hilarious, but unexpectedly
touching as well.
The idea that any studio would
bank on a movie starring Seth Rogen
is almost nonsensical at first glance.
With his self-described "40-year-
old gut and Jewfro" he is an unlikely
candidate for a leading man. But
trustingApatow's judgement, Rogen
is clearly the perfect choice for the
unwitting father. He has better
screen presence than any two Frat-
pack actors combined and his off-
beat charm and likeable demeanor
are enough so we never tire of him

or his posse of stoner friends (all
"Freaks" and "Undeclared" alums).
Heigl steps up to the plate as well,
diving into a cast of longtime friends
almost effortlessly. She is funny in
her own right, and sets Rogen up
perfectly time after time. Her sis-
ter (played by Apatow's wife Leslie
Mann) and brother-in-law (Paul
Rudd, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin")
present a hilarious yet apocalyptic
view of her possible future. Rudd
describes the neurotic marriage as
"an unfunny version of 'Everybody
Loves Raymond.'
Although graphic sexual humor
abounds, the film never feels

crass. And though there are tender
moments, you never feel the need to
roll your eyes. "Knocked Up" treads
the fine line between gross-out com-
edy and tired romantic drama. The
path it takes is so perfectly straight
and balanced that it never steps a toe
on either side.
More entertaining than any flam-
boyantpirateepic andmorepoignant
than any crying superhero retread,
"Knocked Up" puts recent block-
busters to shame. Even $300 million
can't buy an audience's affection or
a critical acclaim without heart and
talent.
This is how you make a movie.

'Steppin' it up at The Ark

By ANNA ASH But don't toss this dapper quartet
AssociateArtsEditor off as old-fashioned. Some of Step-
pin' In It's tunes may take you back
Detroit may be the birthplace of to an era of
techno and a breeding ground for feet-stomping Steppin' In It
jazz, but who would have guessed hootenanny. and Lost World
that this flat state of ours would Its lively blend
become such an influential haven of swinging, Sting Band
for the resurgence of roots music. bluesy old- 8p.m.
Eventhough the Appalachians don't time music,
quite reach the state line, Lansing's however, is a $15
Steppin' In It will be stirring in a tasteful. take The Ark
hearty dose of classic American folk on tradition.
to their soulful, down-home sound "They make traditional music con-
this weekend at the Ark. temporary without selling its soul

in the process" said Performing
Songwriter Magazine.
Fronted by singer/songwriter
Joshua Davis, Steppin' In It has
become one of the most sought-after
bands in Michigan. From music fes-
tivals like Wheatland in Remus, MI
and the Telluride Bluegrass festi-
val in Colorado, to appearances on
NPR's Mountain Stage, the group
has been sharing its tuneful melo-
dies and rocking crowded dance
floors ever since its 2000 debut
Children Take Your Shoes Off
Supporting Davis's lyrical elo-
See ASH, Page 10

"Is it still considered mountain music if we're on a dock?"

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