• Studio: A24
  • Release Date: Jun 6, 2014
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Alonso Duralde
    Jun 5, 2014
    92
    The only agenda of this scruffy and urbane comedy, about a young comic contemplating abortion, is to be true and funny.
  2. Reviewed by: Leah Greenblatt
    Jun 4, 2014
    91
    Despite a few too-cute moments (and many fantastically graphic vagina jokes), the movie is both smarter and more sympathetic than that glib shorthand.
  3. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Jun 3, 2014
    90
    Obvious Child is perfect for those who want more honesty in fiction.
  4. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jun 18, 2014
    89
    It’s an indie film about abortion that comes snuggled in the broad strokes of a quirky relationship comedy. A grump might wonder when indie films got so soft, but I’m more intrigued by the inverse: Why aren’t more studio films this clever and winning and conversant in the same language as their audience?
  5. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jun 12, 2014
    88
    There are as many awkward, discomfiting sequences in Obvious Child as there are interludes of genuine fun and romance. The result is a movie that feels risky and forgiving and, despite its traditional rom-com contours, refreshingly new.
  6. Reviewed by: Sheila O'Malley
    Jun 6, 2014
    88
    Unlike in Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up," with a similar circumstance and where abortion is not even mentioned by name (except for the cowardly "schma-shmortion"), Obvious Child is honest.
  7. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jun 19, 2014
    83
    Politics aside, Obvious Child hinges on Slate's performance, which is endearing and real.
  8. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jun 3, 2014
    83
    The real triumph of Obvious Child involves its ability to make familiar ingredients work just fine on their own terms. In doing so, it makes up for a lot of lost time in the pantheon of female-centric comedies, and studios would be wise to take note.
  9. Reviewed by: Ed Frankl
    Sep 22, 2014
    80
    This is a film of ideas, but it's a comedy first, and its boldness is that it doesn't aim to address a pro-choice or pro-life stance - it's about Donna just getting on with it all the same.
  10. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Aug 25, 2014
    80
    Sharp, funny and feeling, this isn't just Juno-meets-Girls but a smart film that tackles real-life issues with rare frankness.
  11. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jun 12, 2014
    80
    As Obvious Child stumbles its way to the final punch line, it echoes Donna's onstage musings — funny but rough around the edges. A work in progress that somehow hooks you anyway.
  12. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Jun 12, 2014
    80
    It's a well-written rom-com with rascally charm, a modest story of an awkward Brooklyn girl making a go of life. It's irreverent and rough around the edges with an imperfect protagonist, blue language, scatological humor and rambling confessional stand-up monologues, sometimes about bodily fluids. The laughs are frequent and ribald.
  13. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jun 9, 2014
    80
    Often scabrously funny in a post-Lena Dunham, post-Woody Allen New York comedy vein, and finds a star performance in the thoroughly unlikely personage of Jenny Slate.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jun 5, 2014
    80
    Raunchy humor laced with gradually revealed vulnerability makes for a winning combination in Obvious Child, a wildly funny and appealing female-centric comedy that launches very promising talent on both sides of the camera.
  15. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jun 5, 2014
    80
    It’s both funny and serious without trying too hard to be either, and by trying above all to be honest.
  16. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jun 5, 2014
    80
    Yet the heart of the film lies in what it manages to say, without boldface or italics, about how hard it is for Donna, like so many of her anxious cohort, to make genuine connections, to break free of narcissistic constraints and become a stand-up grown-up.
  17. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jun 5, 2014
    80
    There's something old-Hollywood about Slate's dizzy-dame charm, and at the same time, something very modern about her unapologetic ownership of her own sexuality.
  18. Reviewed by: Genevieve Koski
    Jun 3, 2014
    80
    Despite its attention-grabbing logline and gleeful embrace of raunchy, frequently scatological humor, Obvious Child is at heart a well-realized, straight-ahead rom-com, one with the potential to reinvigorate a genre that’s been flagging for decades.
  19. Reviewed by: Tomris Laffly
    Jun 3, 2014
    80
    Leavened by an attractive soundtrack that includes the Carter Family’s well-placed “Single Girl, Married Girl” (and the Paul Simon song that gives the film its title), Obvious Child has a loud agenda that will be off-putting to some. Still, it’s a welcome counterpoint to the likes of "Knocked Up" and even "Juno," where the abortion route is an apparent no-go.
  20. Reviewed by: Xan Brooks
    Apr 18, 2014
    80
    A glorious jumping bean comedy that moves from the profane to the poignant in the blink of an eye.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Apr 18, 2014
    80
    The humor springs either from real-world recognition, as Robespierre and her co-writers go where others fear to tread, or in response to the cast’s lively, eccentrically lived-in characters.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jun 26, 2014
    75
    Sorry, partisans, but there’s nothing obvious about Obvious Child.
  23. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jun 26, 2014
    75
    Robespierre does a nice job of balancing the seriousness of this situation with the no-boundaries irreverence of Donna's comedy background.
  24. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jun 12, 2014
    75
    It’s a warm, sympathetic, very sloppy, and often very funny little movie about a young woman who, among several other things, is not remotely ready to be a parent and knows it.
  25. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jun 12, 2014
    75
    The pregnancy monologue isn't funny at all, despite cuts to audience members laughing it up. It's a small false note in a movie that's otherwise as honest as they come.
  26. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jun 5, 2014
    75
    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.
  27. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jun 4, 2014
    75
    In turning a 23-minute story into an 83-minute one, Robespierre sometimes struggles to occupy her running time.
  28. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Mar 20, 2014
    75
    Whatever your foreknowledge of low-budget Brooklyn dramedies, it's impossible that Gillian Robespierre's film won't lob you at least a few curveballs.
  29. 70
    The beauty of Obvious Child is that there’s nothing obvious about it.
  30. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Apr 18, 2014
    67
    Obvious Child is well-made and wickedly bold, but I still found myself wishing for a little more subtle maturity on the part of its characters and creators.
  31. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jun 27, 2014
    60
    Not all of the stand-up scenes in Obvious Child are quite as funny. At least one is meant to be bad. Another is meant to be poignant but just ends up coming off as a touch weird and emotionally false.
  32. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jun 5, 2014
    60
    Laughter may be the best medicine, but in Obvious Child, it’s also a helluva cure for dealing with a serious topic.
  33. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    Jun 20, 2014
    50
    In truth, despite its honesty, this is a flawed little film, its low comedy never funny enough to justify its crudeness.
  34. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    Jun 5, 2014
    50
    The problem is the movie's comedians, who are, to the last, unfunny.
  35. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jun 4, 2014
    38
    No, this film by director/co-writer Gillian Robespierre just isn’t funny, and the mismatched leads aren’t even interesting together.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. Jun 7, 2014
    9
    Fantastic movie. Jenny Slate is going to be a huge star. She's funny as hell, but not in an obnoxious way. Entirely sympathetic in herFantastic movie. Jenny Slate is going to be a huge star. She's funny as hell, but not in an obnoxious way. Entirely sympathetic in her approach. And immensely likable. The story is a classic choice for a good modern comedian. It's handled with care and a degree of class, yet it's riddled with very funny low-brow humor. Great supporting cast with Cross and Hoffman. See it. Full Review »
  2. Jul 11, 2014
    6
    One of the many ingredients that so many romantic-comedies are missing today is the element of truth: truth in the dialogue, truth in itsOne of the many ingredients that so many romantic-comedies are missing today is the element of truth: truth in the dialogue, truth in its characters and truth in the scenarios the characters are put in. If there is one thing that is obvious about Gillian Robespierre debut feature film Obvious Child, it is that the truth be the guiding light for characters in the film and the film itself.

    Obvious Child could best be described as the anti-romantic-comedy, yet, its roots are very much brooding in the realm of the girl-centric, highly profitable genre. Yet, there is nothing highly alluring to Robespierre’s truthfully crude comedy where a young comedienne shares the embarrassing exploits of her life, her bowel movements, her crusty underwear and her insecurities as a young twenty-something living in a desolate, hipster filled New York City.

    Jenny Slate, whom I only know from the HBO show House of Lies, plays the twenty-something young comedienne. Slate wouldn’t seem to fit the role by simply reading the script, but from page-to screen, Slate does a surprisingly great job as a young, lost independent, creatively misunderstood soul unleashing herself to the world and the loved ones around her.

    The beginning of Donna Stern’s (Slate) problems begin with her smelly, cheating boyfriend Ryan (Paul Briganti) dumping her and also admitting to her that he has been cheating on her with her best friend. Donna, who reacts almost like anyone else would, consuming a crap load of alcohol, moaning to friends and family and being miserable in any way possible, cinematically makes the break-up a lot more dramatic that it needs to be, especially since the foundation of Ryan and Donna’s relationship is never seen or bonded with its audience. The break-up scene is literally the second scene in the film, so we don’t empathize much with Donna. Sure enough, what’s the best way to mend a broken heart? Sex! And what better way to get back with your ex than to hook up with Max (Jake Lacy), the most straight laced, squared-jaw guy anyone would find at a scuzzy bar in Brooklyn. Robespierre’s dialogue does tread the line between originally inventive and subliminally juvenile, as the two’s meet-cute begins by noticing each others “pee pee missiles”, but hey, someone must have liked that line. Like any good drunken, dumped sex scheme, things don’t necessarily go to plan, and a few weeks later, Donna’s discomforting boobs lead to a pregnancy test with positive results. Perhaps not so positive for Donna.

    Abortion comedies are a very sensitive topic for me, seeing that one of my favourite comedies of all time, Knocked Up, dealt with the topic and the disastrous results of unwanted, drunken hook-ups. Although the film was funded and aided with the help of a big studio, the film dealt with the realities of people trying to make things work, when things aren’t obviously working around them. The beauty about a film like Obvious Child is that such a small, indie film never gets the pressures of big studio execs breathing down their throat, therefore, the film is able to venture off into very crude and appallingly real, taboo territory of female sexuality, cleanliness and comedy.

    For the most part, Slate is excellent as Donna, a character whose journey of self-discovery and female empowerment begins the moment she gets up on the stage. One of the most obviously enjoyable parts of the film are Donna’s stints of comedy on-stage. Her truthful, almost confessional type comedy is the basis of Robespierre’s feature success, and brings up some of the most laughs for its audiences. It was a nice touch to see a new director handle stand-up comedy scenes gracefully and adequately edit them into the troubled world of a young girl who knows nothing about life. Donna’s best stand-up scene is when she confronts the revelations of that fateful night, which turns into a therapeutic lapse into the epic non-prophylactic judgement of two people and the issues they must face or would face for the rest of their lives.

    Donna’s life is the basis of her comedy, and although her life is nothing to really roll on the ground, dying of laughter, her take on the realities of everyday life allow for the film to take small, hysterical turns for a relatable brand of female humour. Women all over the theatre were unable to contain their laughter. But although the film barely runs ninety minutes, one cannot help but notice how much the use of awkward silence and awkwardness accounts for the comedy, which at times took me away from the film. I am no fan or avid-watcher of Lena Dunham’s Girls, but if a feature film of the popular HBO series were to be made into a movie, I am pretty sure it would look something similar to Obvious Child.
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 9, 2014
    1
    just bad. unless yogurt underwear and farts are your thing. 27 and makes 0 money living in NY for 5 years and whining. then working hard onjust bad. unless yogurt underwear and farts are your thing. 27 and makes 0 money living in NY for 5 years and whining. then working hard on her act(again for 0 money) to what end? oh i'm so quirky, i say disgusting things at the wrong moment, oh i'm so cool. casting couldn't be more stereotypical. lets see how can we make her even more jewish and him even more whitebread - or for her friend, gay. there are so many parts that make no sense but why spoil it - if you don't have air conditioning then by all means go, bring earplugs and a pillow. its a happy abortion commercial. Full Review »