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75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 24 Ratings

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  • Summary: For aspiring comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate), everyday life as a female twenty-something provides ample material for her incredibly relatable brand of humor. On stage, Donna is unapologetically herself, joking about topics as intimate as her sex life and as crude as her day-old underwear. But when Donna gets dumped, loses her job, and finds herself pregnant just in time for Valentine’s Day, she has to navigate the murky waters of independent adulthood for the first time. As she grapples with an uncertain financial future, an unwanted pregnancy, and a surprising new suitor, Donna begins to discover that the most terrifying thing about adulthood isn’t facing it all on her own. It’s allowing herself to accept the support and love of others. And be truly vulnerable. Never failing to find the comedy and humanity in each awkward situation she encounters, Donna finds out along the way what it means to be as brave in life as she is on stage. Expand
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: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 12
  2. Negative: 3 out of 12
  1. Jun 19, 2014
    9
    Such a real and honest movie! Loved that they made normal the issue of abortion, which actually does happen to one third of women, so it's about time it got dealt with as ordinary. Lots of humor and love, what could be better? Expand
  2. Jun 11, 2014
    9
    Jenny Slate is a revelation. I can't wait to see what she does next. This movie's topic may rile some moviegoers but it really shouldn't. I'm surprised that more standup comedians don't venture out to do this sort of movie more often. Come to think of it I would love to see Louis CK do this type of movie even though his TV show is essentially that. Expand
  3. 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 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. Expand
  4. 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 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.
    Expand
  5. Jun 14, 2014
    5
    A fine showcase for the standup comedy of Jenny Slate and an entertaining vehicle for a cast of colorful supporting characters -- but not much else. The thin, unimpressive script always feels like it's leading somewhere but never arrives at a recognizable destination. Watch the trailer, and you'll pretty much see what this underwhelming offering is all about. Collapse
  6. Jul 1, 2014
    4
    I'm not a fan of "Girls" and I’m not a fan of the lead character in this movie (played by Jenny Slate). She seems to inhabit the same mundane world from the HBO series, but her character makes it less appealing: she's a comedian who's not funny and a whiny, wimpy woman who's not sympathetic. Many aspects of her life start to crumble, when she meets a sweet man who changes things (and he's the only bright spot). When you don't care about the self-destructive, self-indulgent pivotal character and don't find her humor amusing, there's not much to like. Expand
  7. 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 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. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews

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