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June 20, 2014

Movie review: 'Obvious Child' is quirky but good

Following on the trail blazed by Lena Dunham in HBO's original series "Girls," this slice-of-single-life treads where young men usually veer, only "Obvious Child" delves into very real young women.

Not as quirky as "Frances Ha," but in a similar vein, we follow Donna's disastrous meltdown. A bookstore employee by day and candid stand-up comedian at night, she gets dumped, finds out her shop is closing, then gets pregnant after a one-night stand.

OK, not your typical high concept chick flick. Call it the anti-chick flick with genuine girls. It's everyday conversations that the cool kids will embrace and scare others of their parents' ages, but it's clever and smart in a very human observational way.


Gabby Hoffman, in a wise and wonderful role, is Donna's best friend. But the breakout stars are Jenny Slate ("Saturday Night Live") as the emotional wreck Donna and Jake Lacy as her straight-arrow potential beau. Expect big things from this trio.

What Works

The romance is offbeat and not what you expect. The elephant in the review here is that she goes to an abortion clinic. How you take this plot point will depend, of course, on your viewpoint.

What Doesn't Work

The movie opens with a very crude stand-up routine, setting us up for frank talk about body parts. sexual activity, sexual orientation, and relationships. It will shock some, elicit laughs from others. It's a generational thing, for sure.

If you are a fan of qurky indies showcasing performers in their breakout roles, this is your kind of film. If you are at the "hey kids get off of my lawn" stage of life, probably best not to be horrified by the habits of Millennials.

3 stars out of 4

Director: Gillian Robespierre

Starring: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, Polly Draper, Richard Kind, David Cross

Rated: R for language and sexual content

Length: 1:23

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